DAYTON, Tenn. - Before Richard Daugherty taught foreign languages at Rhea County High School, he had developed a love for cooking and sharing that passion with those closest to him.
"I grew up with good cooks all around, [including my] mother, aunts and neighbors," Daugherty said. "Food connects people and makes memories."
On Tuesday, he gave an informal demonstration of Greek cuisine at the Clyde W. Roddy Library in Dayton.
Daugherty told the group that his recipe for spanakopita, or spinach pie, was one of the things he brought back from his trip to Greece. The pie contains spinach, cheeses, onions and herbs in flaky phyllo dough.
Jane Aslinger said she came to the demonstration after reading an announcement in the library's newsletter. Asked if she might try to make the dish, she said, "I think so."
Michelle Mormon said that she'd never done Greek cooking before, but she thought Daugherty made it look easy.
Daugherty said he has traveled to at least 18 countries, including Scotland, England, Italy, France and the Dominican Republic. He has marked 37 years as an English and foreign language educator at Rhea County High in Evensville, Tenn. He also teaches German and Spanish.
Daugherty said after the demonstration that his most disappointing recipe resulted from attempting to make caramel icing without a thermometer, and that his biggest regret was never learning to make his mother's biscuits.
"I wish I'd mastered her recipe," he said.
Library representatives said they might offer another demonstration, possibly German or Italian cuisine, later this year.
Daugherty and his collaborator, the Rev. David Colburn, wrote a cookbook "Trial by Taste," that contains more than 600 recipes and stories. It is available at The Gathering Place specialty gifts store in downtown Dayton.
Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.