The Norwalk community is used to seeing Eric Hipp armed with handcuffs and a revolver, but residents might not know he is pretty handy with a spatula, hammer and saw. Promoted to captain March 28, he has been with the Norwalk Police Department full-time since 1988.
"I've built a few furniture pieces, cabinets, that kind of stuff," Hipp said of the skills he learned from his two older brothers and by reading and watching television shows.
The first thing the Norwalk resident built was a rocking horse for his nephew 25 years ago.
Hipp, whose other hobbies include fishing and camping, considers this week's featured recipe unique dill pickle soup. It's one he got from his mother about 1981.
While many people might consider dill pickle soup unusual, Hipp's two stepdaughters, Emily Simon, 14, and Maggie Simon, 11, have been eating it for breakfast for the last three years if it suits their mood.
"Emily takes dill pickles for lunch. Sometimes she'll eat a whole one or eat one for breakfast," Hipp said.
Depending on what shift he's working at the police station, he makes dinner a couple times a week.
"(My wife) Jennie is the main cook. I try to help out where I can," said Hipp who most often fixes grilled cheese sandwiches, roast beef in the crockpot, Hamburger Helper, grilled meat and, of course, dill pickle soup.
When he needs to make a last-minute meal, Hipp chooses Hamburger Helper, grilled cheese or tomato soup. "I don't do well cooking under pressure," he added.
Hipp's stepdaughters, who live with him every other week, request the dill pickle soup "just about every week," he said.
In the kitchen, Hipp is rarely without hot sauce, seasoned salt, garlic, onions and parsley. He admits to keeping his cooking basic, but uses a lot of seasoning with virtually everything he makes.
"I do like flavors, so I try to spice it up, but you've got to watch that for the kids," he said.
The worst thing he ever made was prepackaged fajitas.
"They turned out awful," he remembered. "I had indigestion for three days. I just felt awful."
Hipp redeemed himself last Thanksgiving with a turkey that all of the almost 25 relatives at his house enjoyed.
"It turned out really moist. I used Jennie's recipe," he said.
Hipp suggests cooks "tweak" recipes they find in books and like any regular Reflector reader, those in the "Cook of the Week" feature.