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  • An award-winning journalist who's now an editor at the New York Times, Chris Mele took on a very special assignment when he was around 16 years old.

    "I typed -- yes, typed -- on an electric typewriter, the recipes, transcribed from my mom's handwritten recipes. I don't have the original binder but I do have copies of the recipes. I think I had put the recipes together in a binder for my then-girlfriend-wife-to-be-now-ex-wife. Anyway, take special note of some of the comments in the directions in the recipes for a flavor of my smart-ass teenage self!"

    Those recipes inspired Chris to take after his Mom in the kitchen, which was a huge departure from the previous generation. His German-born mother Winnie was definitely the culinary master and commander, adept at serving up German and Italian dishes as well as typical American fare. His Italian Dad Eugene did not cook at all and could only muster up some burnt toast for the kids when their mother was away. These days, in his own family, Chris and his wife rule the kitchen together.

    "I find cooking to be very therapeutic, it's just that Meg my wife is so proficient at it, it's hard to compete with that. But there's a simple baked chicken thing that's sort of my go-to thing - chicken breast, salt, pepper, garlic salt, some grated parmesan cheese - which is the ticket there! Take a little oregano or the parsley flakes. Put that in there, rub it on the top and the bottom. A little oil in the pan, 375 degrees for an hour and a half and I'm telling you, it can't miss. The skin gets nice and crispy and the meat stays juicy. "

    Chris Mele is a co-host of About Men Radio. This story was produced for "Coming to the Table" from Feet In Two Worlds.
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