By Liz Nolan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Northborough native Joanna Graham hosts the cable access television show “My Hometown Cooking,” a half-hour show filmed at Whitney Place Assisted Living Residences at Northborough. Residents create the live audience.
The basis of the show is to prepare healthy home cooked foods and to also connect with local food providers and farmers. For example, Graham’s fourth episode, titled “Hometown Stroganoff,” featured Lowe’s Variety & Meat Market owner Tom Lowe, who discussed and explained the different meat cuts available. She has also featured one of the owners of Armeno Coffee Roasters, John Parks, to learn more about the coffee roasted at his Northborough store.
Whitney Place Community Relations Director Jim Priest said the idea was sparked while hosting a pancake breakfast fundraiser to benefit Friends of the Northborough Senior Center. One of the volunteers commented that the newly renovated country kitchen would be a perfect setting for a cooking show and her daughter would be the perfect host. Her daughter is Graham, who holds a master’s degree in Food and Nutrition.
After several meetings and the support of the Northborough Cable Access television station (NCAT), filming of the first episode was scheduled. Priest refers to NCAT as a hidden gem of the town and adds that the collaboration could open up additional opportunities to Whitney Place residents, staff and the public.
The enthusiasm for the show among residents has increased. Priest said for the first show four people were rounded up for the audience, but by the sixth episode there was standing room only.
“It’s pretty neat that residents can see how a show is created from start to finish, and of course, they love seeing themselves on TV,” said Priest.
Graham said the goal of the show is to simply have fun.
“Each time we finish a season we will regroup and ask ourselves if we’re all still having fun with it,” she said. “If we are, then the show will go on!”
Graham is known to invite members of the audience to help or to taste test ingredients and the camera scans the audience as well.
Priest said that some of the residents now joke that they need an agent.
“The whole experience is a treat for the residents because it is different,” he said. “It has become a topic of conversation. It’s fun, new and exciting.”
Graham is very much looking forward to continuing the show. She hopes to include more “feel-good” recipes and highlight more local businesses in the process.
“Getting the opportunity to meet the amazing residents at Whitney Place and also some of the local farmers and business owners in Northborough has been so much fun,” she said. “To do something I love while connecting back with my hometown has been very rewarding. It has also been so much fun watching an idea turn into a reality. All the right pieces and people just seemed to fall into place…”
The next six episodes of “My Home Cooking” will begin taping in May. Previously taped shows and recipes can be viewed on Graham’s website at www.myhometowncooking.com. The show schedule can also be found at the Cable Access Television link at www.town.northborough.ma.us.