Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah, and thanks to her mouth-watering cookbook, it could be you.
Dinah Sprinkle Reece (’66) has been cooking since she was 3 years old and climbing up on a stool in her grandmother’s kitchen to stir something —anything.
That lifelong love for cooking, along with a desire to help others, are the ingredients for a collection of more than 500 recipes — gathered over the years from family and friends then tucked away in canisters and kitchen drawers.
She has self-published a cookbook called “Cooking With Love for the House That Love Built,” sales of which are benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Inc., a place that provides a “home away from home” for families of children receiving medical care at community hospitals.
Reece, who volunteers regularly at the House and says it is the highlight of her week to help families facing a difficult time, is a retired Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schoolteacher. She continues to mentor new teachers for the school system.
In 1994 she decided her students needed to learn more about things that were not in textbooks — such as the importance of service. As a class project they produced and sold environmental T-shirts to benefit Ronald McDonald House and raised about $28,000.
After she retired she wanted to help the House even more. The cookbook became a labor of love for a local legend who has won more than 100 Dixie Classic Fair ribbons (a contender for most-ever in the pound cake category.)
She even had chefs calling from across the country after her Collard Green Cake recipe was published in the Winston-Salem Journal. (It’s good, she said. She uses her carrot cake recipe and substitutes collards for some of the apples and carrots.)
A social studies major at Wake Forest, Reece said her favorite professor was Jasper Memory, who taught her that teaching was the most important thing she could do with her life. She learned something else here and that was the importance of giving back.
Her culinary skills and a gift for giving have meant that over 700 family night stays will be covered at the House, said Mindy Bloom, director of development. “This cookbook is not just a gift to the House, it is a gift to the community.”
Reece and her husband, John (a Wolfpack alum), live in Pfafftown and are avid Deacon fans. “Beating Miami was great,” she said. “And beating N.C. State was pretty good, too.”