LUCKEY – If you see smoke coming from Jody Eaton’s backyard on a cold, drizzly day, don’t panic. It’s just the grill.
“I’ve literally grilled with an umbrella over my head,” she said.
Eaton makes everything on her grill, including Spaghetti Pizza.
The dish does not have a traditional pizza crust.
“The spaghetti literally makes a base and it keeps it together,” Eaton said. “The pasta serves as the crust, like dough would on a pizza.”
Spaghetti Pizza has six ingredients: spaghetti noodles, an egg, milk, sauce, cheese and pepperoni. She often substitutes sausage instead of pepperoni.
Eaton uses the grill from April to October.
“I have had on this grill at one time corn, rolls, potatoes and whatever meat or casserole I have.”
The grill became crucial when their central air quick working and they went without for years. She was unwilling to turn on the oven in the summer to cook in the heat of the house.
“I taught myself how to treat the grill like an oven. The first year, there were some really bad experiments.”
Watch everything closer on the grill, Eaton said, because things cook quicker than they do in the oven.
The grill now in use has a thermostat; the old one did not.
She elevates her dishes from the heat source, starting with bricks and now using metal cake pans.
She’s made cookies, brownies and cakes in addition to rolls, casseroles and cobblers on the grill.
“You’ve got to treat it like your oven. You need to preheat it the same way, you just have to watch a little closer.”
Eaton been cooking this way for at least 10 years. They even purchased a new grill for their vacation home in Pennsylvania.
“Jody needed her oven,” she laughed.
She cans in the garage, using a heat source from a turkey fryer.
Eaton cans her own spaghetti sauce and uses hot Italian sausage. Before she made her own sauce, she would brown onions and hamburger and mix it in with store-bought sauce.
She has her own garden, in which she grows several varieties of tomatoes, sweet and banana peppers, jalapenos, sugar snap peas, green beans, lettuce, carrots, onions, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
“We do not buy processed food, canned food, very much at all.”
Eaton also has blackberry and raspberry bushes, apple and peach trees and a place for sweet corn.
“We can a lot,” she said, adding that she makes her own salsa, jams and fruit cocktail and freezes much of her vegetables. “That’s what I spend my weekends doing.”
Eaton works full time for Eastwood Local Schools and has been at work despite the pandemic that closed schools in March. Eastwood students returned to the classroom Aug. 25.
She learned to cook from her mom and grandma.
“My Grandma Knapke was a huge cook. I remember standing by her side while she made fried chicken.”
Her mom, at age 86, still cooks.
“I love to cook. I love to bake. The problem is baking likes me, so I don’t bake as much as I used to.”
That didn’t stop her from making 30 mini loaves of zucchini bread that are now in her freezer. Incidentally, she made them all on her grill.
“I enjoy cooking good food and healthy food. I enjoy experimenting.”
She will take a little from two or three recipes and make them her own.
“It gives me pleasure to feed my family.”
She and husband Rob are transplants to Wood County and have been here 32 years not counting her college years at Bowling Green State University.
The have two children, David, who lives in Boston, and Samantha, who lives at home.