Anthony & Emily: Growing Confident in the Kitchen Together

Cooking together as a couple or family is more fun and rewarding. – Anthony & Emily

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We think that cooking as a couple makes for a great date night, and lucky for husband and wife Anthony and Emily, they get to enjoy cooking with and for each other often! Together, these Kitchen Heroes grew confident in the kitchen the more they cooked, discovered new ingredients, and created a variety of dishes from scratch, including homemade spring rolls and sauces. Read their Hero in the Kitchen story below.

Names: Anthony & Emily Parrott
Ages: 28 & 29
City, State: Spirit Lake, IA
We cook for: ourselves and our friends!
Outside of the kitchen: we work at a community college and a church (we like helping people!).
If we could have any superpower, it would be: unlimited frequent flyer miles.
We cook because: we both like the act of creating; eating what you create is a great bonus!
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Tuna Panzanella Salad

How did the two of you learn to cook?

Each of our parents taught us some of the basics, but we definitely didn’t belong on MasterChef Junior. We got married young – and pretty poor – so learning to cook quickly became a priority.

What’s been your biggest cooking challenge?

Each of us work full-time jobs with evening commitments. Before Cook Smarts, we found ourselves struggling to find time to get to the store, much less do meal planning that had any semblance of health or balance. Cook Smarts has thankfully eliminated that issue, making meal planning something that can happen in a brief conversation over IM.

Now our biggest struggle is simply finding certain ingredients – rural Iowa doesn’t always have the most exotic selection!


“It feels good to be reminded that we no longer reach for pre-packaged, processed meals-in-a-box, but rather, rely on fresh ingredients and our own skills.”


What have you guys learned since starting Cook Smarts’ meal plans?

Oh man, so much! First and foremost, we feel more confident in the kitchen. We’re now much more willing to try using ingredients and recipes that we would have never dared to before! We were surprised to learn how easy it is to make seemingly complicated things from scratch, like dressings, sauces, or spring rolls. Overall, we’ve learned not to be intimidated by new techniques or ingredients.

Tell us about the proudest kitchen moment.

The moments that we find most surprising are when we have guests ask, “Do you cook like this all the time?” It feels good to be reminded that we no longer reach for pre-packaged, processed meals-in-a-box, but rather, rely on fresh ingredients and our own skills.

What are your tips for health and success in the kitchen?

  • Cooking together as a couple or family is more fun and rewarding.
  • Be willing to try new things; you may stumble upon a new favorite.
  • Having the right tools makes everything so much easier.

Thanks, Anthony and Emily. A big high-five for no longer needing all those pre-packaged foods! You guys enjoy helping people, so we’re very honored to be helping the two of you for a change, even if it’s just coming up with the meal plans.

To join Anthony and Emily and cook meals like their favorite Tuna Panzanella Salad, check out our meal plan service. You can get started for free!

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