Last Bite: Getting Families to Eat Together is this Mom’s Quest

By | September 01, 2013
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Amy Hanten, The Cooking Mom

It seems like I have always been into food. One of my earliest memories involves a pork chop. The postman rang the doorbell. I went to open it with nothing but my birthday suit on and a pork chop in my mouth. My mom was horrified! The favorite foods listed in my baby book weren’t the usual kid stuff, instead it was London broil and red velvet cake. Yep, I was a “foodie” really early on. I blame it on my grandmother. She was a fantastic cook who loved to entertain! We cooked up some serious memories together in her kitchen.

Both of my parents worked so I did a lot of the cooking growing up. I also did most of the grocery shopping. I love to grocery shop, always have. I know, weird! I was one of those kids who always knew what they wanted to do. I wanted to be a newscaster.

I got my journalism degree from Marquette University. After college, I did the news at 4 different TV stations around the country before landing at WLUK-Fox 11 in Green Bay.

When I first started anchoring the morning news they asked me if I had any fun segment ideas. Yes! Cooking! That’s how it all started. I’d invite chefs to come on the show to cook with me. Then, I started to cook some of my favorite recipes. Viewers ate it up! The rest is history.

Five years ago the boss offered me my own cooking show. Are you serious!? You bet! It’s an hour-long show and most days we do it “live”. That means anything can and does happen. From fires (yep, we had a small one), to cuts (not me, my producer), oh yeah, and lots of burned nuts! I always burn the nuts at home and on the show! Oh, well, like my grandmother, I’ve learned to have fun and not sweat the small stuff.

People kept asking me when my cookbook was coming out. I had always wanted to write one. After my grandmother passed away, I knew it was time. I wanted to share our family recipes and stories along with my passion to get families back to the table together.

I published my first cookbook and launched my website www.thecookingmom. com a few years ago. It took off! Next thing you know I get a call from The Dr. Oz Show. They wanted me to come on the show and cook. Talk about a big break! Since then, I’ve published my second cookbook, I’m working on my third cookbook and my first cookbook will be re-released in all color very soon.

Besides my show, you can now see me as a regular cooking on WGN-TV out of Chicago. I’m in Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, Detroit and Cleveland, too. I’m having the time of my life! I call myself “The Cooking Mom.” I am not a chef. I’m just a busy mom who’s trying my best to get my family to the table. It’s a crazy, busy world but eating together is so important! Sometimes my kids grumble when I say its “family dinner” night. Next thing you know we’re all talking and laughing. Magic happens at the dinner table!

Here’s one of my favorite recipes for fall. I love my slow cooker! My daughter, Ireland, and I can’t wait to go apple picking every fall, especially on the beautiful Door Peninsula. Apples, smoked sausage, potatoes, sauerkraut, bacon, and beer! What’s not to love!

Enjoy! As I always say: Cook up some memories!

-Amy Hanten, The Cooking Mom,


This issue’s Last Bite columnist is Amy Hanten, who is well known in Northeastern Wisconsin thanks to the popularity of her television program “Living with Amy” and her cookbooks. She’s also a blogger for a website The Cooking Mom.

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