Students of VTChem: Jacob Chappell
May 19, 2022
"It’s a bonding experience, cooking. When you’re cooking with someone or cooking for other people, the communal aspect is very nice. My former roommate was back in town, and I wanted to cook some Thai food because I’d never made Thai food before. He was there and asked, “Oh what can I do?” So, it’s nice to say, “This is what we need to do, I’ve never done this before, but if you can you put the spices in the wok and stir this around while I chop this up?”
My interest in cooking really started in college. Where I went to undergrad [in Asheville], there were a lot of restaurants and a lot of food that I was not subjected to growing up. Like French food? I didn’t know. Being very curious about other foods made me want to cook more. I took a lot of inspiration for cooking from my dad. He had always done a lot of variety with testing recipes, especially his pecan pie.
His pecan pie recipe is very important for special occasions, holidays, birthdays. I love this man’s pecan pie. He based his pecan pie from his aunt’s. He is very fond of his aunt. He lived with her when he was younger, and she would make a pecan pie [for Thanksgiving]. She died when I was a teenager, and at the service a lot of people were asking about this pecan pie recipe because it was held so close to his aunt. Someone had brought a pecan pie that they thought was her recipe. They also found a recipe at her house after the funeral service. They were two very different recipes. Different amounts of Karo syrup, brown sugar, eggs, flour, everything. She would never measure anything. One time someone wrote it down to attempt to recreate her recipe. He has a compiled list of all the pecan recipes he could find from his aunt and other family members who had tried to recreate her pie. He has now perfected it to his recipe which is a combination of multiple pecan pie recipes. It’s so good. I can’t make that as well as he can." - Jacob Chappell