BY HANA MEDINA
YOU MAY KNOW her as mom Frankie
Heck on The Middle, or as mom Debra
Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.
Perhaps you’ve even caught her playing
herself on the Food Network. But offscreen, Emmy Award–winning actress
Patricia Heaton wants you to know her as a
real-life “home-cooking mom—not a
chef!” she laughs, correcting this reporter
by phone from her Los Angeles home.
Heaton gave The Connection the lowdown
on her first cookbook, Patricia Heaton’s
Food for Family and Friends: ;;; Favorite
Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life, along with
tips for throwing a special soiree.
THE COSTCO CONNECTION: What
sparked your interest in cooking?
PATRICIA HEATON: Growing up, my mom
showed me a few basic things. Anything that
had to do with ground meat is what she
taught me, so spaghetti and meat sauce, spaghetti and meatballs, burgers, meatloaf.
[These] were a lot of the staples in our house.
Then I moved to New York, and I
learned a lot by working in restaurants and
in a hotel. New York opened up this whole
new world of things like sushi and Brie and
stuff that we weren’t eating in Ohio.
Before I had my kids, I would throw
small dinner parties and try out different
recipes, like paellas, and stuff that you
could make in a big pot so that you could
just have it cooking on the stove when your
Once I had the kids, it got a little bit
more difficult to cook, and then, of course,
[Everybody Loves Raymond] started.
During the first season of Raymond, I had
Actor Patricia Heaton debuts
her ;rst cookbook
a ;-year-old and a ;-year-old,
and I was pregnant with my
third. That was really hectic
for many years, and so I slowly
started getting back into it as
things calmed down.
Philip Rosenthal, who created
the show with Ray Romano, is a big
foodie, and he used to have food flown in
from everywhere. He’s been a great inspiration to me.
CC: What is Patricia Heaton Parties on
the Food Network all about?
PH: I wanted to do a casual show that
encouraged people to have a little bit of fun
experimenting with their parties. And just
sho w viewers some easy ways to add a little
extra “zhuzh” [pizzazz] to your party. And
also encourage people to be relaxed about
it. As I’ve said many times, people are so
happy just that they’re invited somewhere
where somebody else is going to do the
cooking. It’s just the effort that you’re putting out that makes the difference and
makes the party. You don’t have to worry
too much about presentation. But it is fun
to make something a little bit special, and
there are easy ways to do that. [See
“Patricia’s party-planning pointers.”]
CC: How is preparing for a sitcom
di;erent from preparing for a Food
PH: I found the Food Network show to be
much more difficult than doing a [sit-com]. Cooking on camera is really hard,
because you’re cooking out loud, which I
don’t do at home. Not only are you cooking
out loud, explaining every move that you’re
making, but then [you’re] also telling stories and talking to your guests, and it’s very
improvisational. I’m used to having a
script. The cooking and talking was really
exhausting. I have a newfound respect for
all these people who do these food shows—
just immense respect.
CC: You split your time between Cambridge [England] and L.A. And in your
new cookbook, you have dishes like chi-laquiles and bangers and mash. How
would you describe your culinary style,
and how has living between the two countries in;uenced it?
PH: Yes, I would definitely [credit] my initial years in New York, and then being in
L.A., which has an enormous amount of
food from all over the world at your fingertips. Being married to Dave [English actor
David Hunt] and spending a lot of time in
Europe, not just in England, has really
opened up my palate. I love doing a nice big
FOR YOUR TABLE
Look for Patricia Heaton’s Food for Family
and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a
Busy, Happy Life in most Costco locations.
(Item #1220762; available 2/6)
Actor Patricia Heaton
serves a roast chicken dish
from her new cookbook. Inset:
Heaton with fellow co-stars from
The Middle at her Hollywood Walk
of Fame ceremony in 2012.