Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mom's Little Helper

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mom's Little Helper

Article excerpt

IT'S ALMOST impossible to talk about Sherry Bay's cooking habits without talking about her daughter Tammi. That's because it's almost impossible for Bay to go to the kitchen to cook without Tammi tagging along.

"She always wants to help," Bay said. In fact, Tammi, who is 9, usually is willing to do more than her mom wants. Mom, for example, doesn't want Tammi wielding a knife; Tammi would love to help cut and chop.

About the only foods Tammi doesn't like to help with are "the real messy things, like fish," said her mom (although Tammi is more than happy to go to the lake with her dad to help catch them).

Oh, one other thing, Bay said with a sigh: When it's time to clean up the kitchen, Tammi tends to disappear.

That's not always bad, though. Sometimes she goes off to ride her bike. But other times she goes to help her dad in the garden.

Some of the tomatoes she helps him grow go to her mother for soups and salads and sauces. Many more end up at the vegetable stand the young entrepreneur operates in the front of the family's Blackjack home to help her earn money for college. She used to call her operation Tammi's Home-Grown Tomatoes, but this past summer she changed the name to T&J's Tomatoes, in honor of her baby sister.

When Jessica was born last March, Tammi and her grandmother made sugar cookies that spelled the word "baby." Tammi wanted to share them with her classmates at Jamestown Elementary School, where she's in fourth grade. When she learned homemade treats weren't allowed in the classroom, she shared them with her mother's nurses.

Bay credits her mother-in-law, Lorraine Bay of Riverside, Mo., with sparking Tammi's interest in cooking.

"She started letting Tammi help her make cookies a few years ago, and Tammi has been cooking ever since," Bay said. "Brownies are her favorite thing to make."

When Tammi uses a mix, her mom doesn't have to help. Sometimes, however, Tammi will ask to make something from scratch. At time, it's something her mother hasn't made before, such as the blackberry cobbler she wanted to try after a berry-picking outing with her dad last summer. That's when Bay pulls out her trusty "Good Housekeeping Cookbook" and comes up with a recipe. …

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