Food as Therapy: Glendale merchants ask, ‘What’s Cookin’?’ |
Food as Therapy: Glendale merchants ask, ‘What’s Cookin’?’

Food as Therapy: Glendale merchants ask, ‘What’s Cookin’?’

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Lorraine Zomok sees baking and cooking as therapy. When she was being treated for head and neck cancer, she wrapped herself in the warmth of cooking shows. Throughout the pandemic, meticulously making meals got her through the day.

“Because of my particular cancer, I lost my ability to taste and my ability to swallow,” says Zomok, who is now cancer free after chemotherapy and radiation. “I’m still struggling, but I will prevail. Although I am unable to taste and enjoy food, I can absolutely enjoy the process of baking and cooking and seeing those who enjoy the food around me warms my heart.”

The pandemic also inspired Zomok and the Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association to collect recipes for its “What’s Cookin’?” series. They’re looking for recipes from Downtown Glendale business owners, “treasured” customers and fans of the city to submit for its website and social media platforms.

“During these unique times, we are all reconnecting with our kitchens and rediscovering our family’s favorite recipes. We are excited to share our recipes with the community,” says Zomok, who is the association president and the owner of Memory Lane Trinkets and Treasures.

Recipes will be featured on the Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association Facebook,, and Instagram, @historicdowntownglendale. Recipes can also be viewed and downloaded on Downtown’s website at

New recipes are being added regularly. To participate, email Some of the featured recipes include chicken taquitos from Pastor Kim Gladding at the First United Methodist Church of Glendale; the Spicery rolls from the Spicery in Our 1895 Home; and easy summer pie from Nancy Houck, Historic Glendale Downtown docents.

“When our Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association cooked up this idea, we realized it was not only going to be a fun activity, but one that was social.

“It’s an opportunity to share recipes to a large audience on social media and the website. It’s really soothing and comforting and a way for us to really be connected through food. Even though we don’t have the opportunity to sit across tables at our favorite restaurants, we can still through social media.”

Zomok’s recipe is the easy taco salad, one of her family’s favorite dishes,

“It’s something I’ve been making for nearly 40 years,” she says. “My children ate it once a week when they were little. It’s inexpensive to make and customizable. The kids could add as many ingredients as they liked. They could spice it up and I could involve the family in the assembly process. That’s what I remember most about when the kids were little.

“If they wanted cheese, OK. No olives? That’s OK, too. We had a lot of laughs when they’d say, ‘Taco salad again?’ They’d say that with a twinkle in their eye. My precious daughter-in-law is making it for my grandchildren. It’s standing the test of time.”


Sample recipes

The Historic Downtown Glendale Merchants Association is collecting recipes for its “What’s Cookin’?” series. Here are a few highlights from the series:

No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread

Yield: Makes 1 loaf


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt (not table salt)

1/2 teaspoon dry yeast (active dry or highly active dry work best)

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Special cookware needed: Dutch oven or any large oven-safe dish/bowl and lid. Or deep dish covered with tin foil. *


In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Stir in water using a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a shaggy but cohesive dough. Do not overwork the dough. The less you “work” it, the more soft, fluffy air pockets will form.

Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let dough sit at room temperature for eight to 24 hours*. Dough will bubble up and rise.

After dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place your Dutch oven, uncovered, into the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

While your Dutch oven preheats, turn dough onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, form the dough into a ball. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rest.

After the 30 minutes are up, carefully remove Dutch oven. With floured hands, place the bread dough into it. (You can put a piece of parchment under the dough if your Dutch oven isn’t enamel coated.)

Replace cover and bake for 30 minutes covered. Carefully remove cover and bake for seven to 15 minutes* more, uncovered.

Carefully remove bread to a cutting board and slice with a bread knife.

The No-Knead Crusty Artisan Bread recipe is from Danica Coral at Pink House Boutique, 7009 N. 58th Avenue, Glendale,


Easy Taco Salad


1 bag tortilla chips

1 pound ground beef

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can refried beans

1 tomato (diced)

1 bag of salad lettuce, or 1/2 head of lettuce (shredded)

Shredded cheese

Black olives (1/2 can)

Sour cream


Salt and pepper to taste


Brown ground beef and drain off any excess fat. Add in corn to heat through. Heat refried beans in a separate pan.

In a large bowl, toss shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, diced tomato, tortilla chips (trying not to break too many) and black olives. Add in the ground beef/corn mixture. Garnish with sour cream and salsa to the side. Serves 4. Serve refried beans on the side.

Easy Taco Salad recipe is from Lorraine Zomok, Memory Lane Trinkets and Treasures, 5836 W. Palmaire Avenue, Glendale,