COOK OF THE WEEK

Peggy Howard believes her husband Dane would have done just as well if he chose to mastermind a kitchen instead of Huron County Sheriff's Office investigations. "He should have been a chef. He definitely could have made it as a cook," Peggy said. "He's a better cook than I am."
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 24, 2010

Peggy Howard believes her husband Dane would have done just as well if he chose to mastermind a kitchen instead of Huron County Sheriff's Office investigations.

"He should have been a chef. He definitely could have made it as a cook," Peggy said. "He's a better cook than I am."

She credits Dane, 42, with experimenting with foods and trying new recipes more than she does.

The New London man, who cooks for his family three to four times each week, is equally complimentary of his wife.

"She makes a killer lasagna," said Dane, who counts it as one of his comfort foods.

Residents probably are more accustomed to seeing Detective Sgt. Dane Howard armed with a badge and handcuffs rather than a chef's hat or apron. He joined the sheriff's office in 1995 after two years at the New London Police Department.

Howard met his future wife when the couple worked for the Plymouth Police Department. Peggy, now a homemaker and child care provider, was a part-time officer there from about 1984 to 1989.

"She works a lot harder than I do," Howard said.

Peggy maintains a Christian perspective while her husband does his daily job, which can be dangerous.

"I worry a little, but he's in God's hands. I trust in God," she said. Besides, she believes her husband "is good at what he does."

In the summer, Howard likes to go fishing and golfing. He also does woodworking a skill he's used since high school and learned from his father. The New London resident also has collected police badges for the last 20 years.

No matter what time of year it is, you can find Howard being the grill master.

"I grill out as much in the winter as I do in the summer," he admitted.

"I do a lot of grilling," he added. "I love to cook on a grill. It's very relaxing."

Howard chose this week's featured recipe, chicken enchiladas, because it was the first meal Debbie Talbot, a volunteer youth leader at Fitchville United Methodist Church, made for his family. He credits Talbot with getting his son Jeremy, now 18, involved in the Methodist youth events Church Conference on Youth Ministry and Youth Jam.

"It's a lot of time she puts into those kids," Howard said. "Debbie has had a huge impact on my kids' lives."

The Howard family also includes their daughter, Serena, 17, and their son Seth, 16. Both teenagers are students at New London High School.

Howard encourages other cooks to experiment and try new dishes. "Have friends over and enjoy life," he added.

About five years ago, Howard hosted several officers at his home when he put too much sugar in his chili. He used the sugar to counter the spicy flavor.

"They ate it, but they said, 'That's the sweetest chili we've ever eaten,'" he said. Then, Howard added: "Of course (when) you get five cops in the room, they'll eat anything."