Rodney Cook is at home in the kitchen, cooking dinner almost every night for his family. But the Bowling
Green man’s true passion comes when he’s mixing the flour, sugar and butter for a tasty treat.
Cook is the cookie baker for Beeker’s General Store in Pemberville. For the cutout cookies during the
holiday season, he’ll start baking in October and by the time Christmas comes, he’s made 200-250 dozen.
On a whim, he decided to participate in the Beeker’s Sampling Saturday contest, held last month at the
Pemberville store — not knowing whether he’d be baking or cooking.
The cooks were asked to create a recipe with samples for taste testing. The catch? The samples are a
Products in the mystery brown bags included Amish Wedding Raspberry Sweet and Sour Salad Dressing, Faro
Coffee, Post Muscadine Grape Juice, Amish Wedding Pickled Mild Okra, Mrs. Miller’s Mild Sweet Pepper
Mustard, Amish Wedding Peanut Butter Spread and Troyer Chicken.
Cook’s wife, Kimberly, stopped by for a mystery bag, and drew Homestyle Sweet and Sour Dressing.
“She and I sat and brainstormed and decided what flavor profile to go with, and we like Asian,” Cook
They came up with Super Bowl Chicken Chunks.
The recipe was a hit, winning the People’s Choice award at Beeker’s.
Cook said he’s impressed with the Beeker’s dressing. The flavor isn’t overpowering and one bottle gets
five batches of his recipe.
“It’s just a really good base,” he said.
Cook said this is also a versatile recipe. To add a dash of healthy, they were making it Monday night
accompanied by a sauteed dish of broccoli, mushrooms, onion and water chestnuts over rice.
He suggested leaving the pepper flakes out, if it sounds too spicy.
“That’s optional. But I like the heat,” said Cook, who loves Asian, Mexican and barbecue food.
Cook learned to cook from his mother, Lela. He grew up just a half mile down the street from his home on
“She was a cook at one of the fraternities for years and she worked in a restaurant for awhile.”
When he married Kimberly, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math at Woodmore Local Schools, he
proposed a cooking-cleaning partnership.
“That was the deal, when we got married, I cook and grocery shop and she keeps me in clean clothes,” Cook
The Cooks have been together for 34 years and married 27. They have two children, Hannah, 23, and Jordan,
Hannah is a licensed practical nurse, working at Otterbein Portage Valley in Pemberville, and is studying
for her bachelor’s of science in nursing.
Jordan works for the Ohio Department of Transportation, operating a snow plow. Cook said it’s his dream
job. He remembers getting him a pedal truck when he was a kid and Jordan taking a snow shovel from the
job and putting it on the front of the toy.
Cook plans on retiring in four years. He’s been a deputy with the Wood County Dog Shelter for 25 years.
He plans to continue baking.
One of his cookie specialties is a loaded Chocolate Chip Cookie. He adds white chocolate chips, pecans
and a butter pecan flavoring.
He and Kimberly have two Weimaraners, Grace and Chopper, that keep them on their toes. The dogs are not
from the shelter — after years of waiting for the specific breed to come in, they gave up and went out
on their own to find them. Kimberly had researched the dog and really wanted one. Grace is 14 and
Chopper is 5.
“I told her if we ever got one in the shelter, I would bring it home, but we never did.”