Cooking is something Sophia Bauer learned to do at a young age — something that let her work out the bugs early on.

She said that her mother was never allowed in the kitchen when she was a girl, and she didn’t want that for her children, including Sophia. She gave each of the four kids a night to cook and “whether we did something we knew or took a cookbook, that’s what we were allowed to do.”

Bauer said she had several bad experiences cooking, with many burnt things.

One disaster was the chicken and dumplings from an Amish cookbook. The intent was to make it for her birthday. She had it all made but when she dished it out to eat, the biscuits had burned to the bottom of the pan.

“I was so sad about that,” Bauer said.

The lessons learned was follow the recipe and make sure you differentiate between tablespoons and teaspoons.

She recalled making pancakes once where she used two cups of sugar rather than two tablespoons.

“I really didn’t read there,” Bauer said with a laugh. “You didn’t need syrup.”

She has excelled at Chicken Marsala, which was inspired by a dinner at SamB’s downtown.

“We loved it,” Bauer said about her and husband Joseph. “They didn’t give me their recipe, but I did find a recipe and it seems like every recipe I find is good.”

The Chicken Marsala cooks on the stovetop in 25 minutes. The taste of garlic and bacon is apparent as is the wine. The chicken can be cut with a fork, it is so tender.

Bauer does cook a lot, and more so since the coronavirus has impacted eating out.

The Marietta transplant has lived in Bowling Green since coming here as a university student in 2013.

She attended St. Thomas More parish and has been employed by the church doing marketing and communications since 2014. Bauer graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2017 with a degree in graphic design.

She has started going back into the office and spent much of the summer creating a new website.

Joseph’s favorite meal is a toss-up between this recipe and the chicken Alfredo she makes, Bauer said.

“I can’t do the jar of Alfredo anymore. We tried,” she said, “but it’s not as good.

“All is it is a Google recipe and the first one that popped up I just made it.”

Must of her cooking is from scratch – except for stuffing, for which she uses a boxed mix.

“I enjoy doing it as much from scratch as possible. It’s more fun.”

Bauer didn’t cook as much once she started classes at BGSU, but since being married she has started to get invested in cooking.

“It’s fun to come home from work and just kind of decompress with cooking dinner.”

She and Joseph celebrated their second anniversary in the spring.

He does breakfast and anything that can be stir-fried.

“He enjoys eating,” Bauer said.

Her go-to recipe is chicken – she cooks a lot whether breaded or grilled – with some sort of sides.

She prefers cooking, saying she is terrible at baking unless it is bread.

“I feel like I have a little bit more control as far as how thoroughly I cook things when it’s on the stovetop. I can see what’s happening while it’s going on and I’m a little bit of a control freak.”

Bauer said she will buy a cake or pie and eat it happily.

She has tried to grow her own garden.

The two tomato plants and two eggplants were doing great, but everything else – carrots, zucchini, cucumbers — is gone. Of the two cantaloupe plants donated by her mom, she has managed to keep one alive.

“I’m not a good plant person but I definitely like fresh produce,” Bauer said.

In her free time she crochets and sells afghans. Bauer also designs wedding and baby shower invites for friends and family.

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