Home of Economy-Herald pie contestant Amy Lents details 'cooking adventures' on internet blog
Lents is sponsored by the East Grand Forks-Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.
GRAND FORKS — Unlike many of the contestants in the Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off, Amy Lents didn’t necessarily grow up baking. She was influenced by adept family cooks and bakers – her mother and her grandmothers – but she didn’t start seriously cooking until she had a family of her own.
“I saw these wonderful role models, but I didn’t do much with it until I had my own children and started caring about what I was putting in little tummies,” Lents said. “Then, I started calling mom and grandma and asking about recipes, researching online and finding my own place.”
After the birth of her second son, she started a cooking blog – amyscookingadventures.com – where she details her kitchen adventures. It started with family recipes and expanded to include all sorts of foods, including pies, that include her own twist on traditional fare.
“It’s just a creative thing for fun,” she said of the blog, which sometimes only gets a few dozens visitors but sometimes more than a thousand.
Lents – a librarian at Holy Family St. Mary’s School and mother of two – is among the 16 bakers chosen for the Home of Economy-Herald event, which will showcase some of the top pie-bakers from across the region. She is sponsored by the East Grand Forks-Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.
Even with a relatively late start in culinary arts, she said she has a love of cooking, “but baking is my true joy.”
“My grandma was a bread baker and my other grandma was a cake decorator. That’s where pie comes in nicely. It’s kind of both of those things together,” said Lents, who's married to Mike Lents.
She’s considering what her first-round pie will be – possibly something with strawberries and rhubarb, or perhaps her “Patriotic Pie,” a combination of strawberries and blueberries, complete with a flag design. The origins of the pie contest were taking shape around the Fourth of July, after all.
As for the crust, she has branched out independent from family recipes.
“That’s the one thing I didn’t take from mom and grandma,” she said. “I do an all-butter crust.”
Her food blog – which has archived hundreds of recipes, including entrees, appetizers and desserts – includes some pie recipes, but it’s much more than that.
Need a recipe for fluffy buttermilk pancakes, a ham and pickle sandwich or Libyan minestrone? Lents has it documented, along with brief stories about each dish, on the site.
Back when she was staying home with her children, she said she found herself “missing school a bit.”
“I needed a creative outlet, so I started cooking,” she said. “I just started writing them down as a way to share and be creative.”