Get to Know Community Cook Trisha Kruse

This Idaho fitness buff has a passion for creating healthy food with an ethnic flair. Find out how she comes up with her tasty, nutritious recipes.

Trisha joined our Community Cook team in 2004. Her passion for cooking with fresh ingredients has made her a Taste of Home fan-favorite.

Taste of Home: Tell us a little about you. Where do you live, what do you do when you’re not cooking and who is in your family?

Trisha Kruse: I live in Eagle, Idaho, a suburb of Boise, on an acre in the “sort of” country. I’m 63 years old and a fitness instructor as well as a rep for several supplement companies. I do lots of in-store demos at health/nutrition stores educating customers on the benefits and giving out samples. When I’m not cooking I’m either at the gym taking classes from other instructors, practicing dance choreography or doing assorted crafts. My family is just my husband and myself, as well as two very bossy and demanding cats: Ralph (huge orange Buddha) and Smidge (Little Miss Attitude).

TOH: You’re a fitness instructor—how cool! How do you balance being health and fitness-minded with a love of cooking?

TK: I’m a fitness instructor and love going to gym—to me it’s fun! I also teach belly dance classes at the local park and rec center. I think the blend of fitness and love of food and cooking is a natural connection. I enjoy making meals that are amazingly delicious but also nutrition powerhouses. When I share my cooking with others, they are astounded that I can make veggies, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and fruit taste like heaven! Healthy food really does taste good.

TOH: How did your love of cooking get started? Was there someone in you life who taught you?

TK: I lived in Italy until I was 8 years old. Italian people revere food. They appreciate every aspect of growing/raising food, preparing, cooking and eating. I never saw fast food or people eating in their cars. So I absorbed that reverence from childhood. My parents were from the U.S., my mom taught me to cook from recipes and cookbooks. Even though she didn’t love cooking, I was able to learn the basic mechanics from her; like how to make a white sauce, separate eggs or whip the whites. Cooking was actually a chore for her and she could only cook by following a recipe. I took the basics she taught me and flew with them!

TOH: What inspires you to cook?

TK: I love to eat! Food is beautiful to look at and it smells wonderful when cooking. I find cooking to be comforting, relaxing and a great creative outlet.

TOH: What recipe do you get asked to make the most?

TK: My husband loves Indian food, so of everything I make, he enjoys that the most: anything from vindaloo to tikka masala to homemade naan bread.

TOH: What do you enjoy most about being a Community Cook?

TK: Being a Community Cook gives me an outlet for my fascination with food. Cuisines from other countries, unusual ingredients, trends and habits—some good, some not so much. I’m constantly reading recipes from old cookbooks and magazines and how they reflect the culture of the times. I’m also always looking at the nutritional impact of styles, times and trends.

(Think you’d like to join our team of Community Cooks? Find out what it takes.)

TOH: What kitchen appliance is indispensable for you and why?

TK: It’s a toss-up between my food processor and my blender. I use the food processor a lot to shred and slice veggies for all sorts of recipes. I use it at least three times a week and keep it one my counter top. My blender I use for making wonderful purees and sauces. I make a delightful pumpkin “pudding” with canned pumpkin, brown sugar and nutmeg. Just as delicious as pie!

(Trisha, that pumpkin dessert sounds amazing! Be sure to share the recipe with us.)

TOH: What is your desert-island meal? That one you could eat over and over again and never get tired of.

TK: I could eat grilled shrimp and avocado in lettuce wraps every day, but it’d be extra perfect if that desert island had plenty of chardonnay on hand!

Try One of Trisha's Recipes Today!
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Sue Stetzel
Sue has been working with Taste of Home since 2011. When she isn’t writing, she’s answering your burning cooking questions and working with our team of Community Cooks. She spends her free time cooking, crafting, and volunteering for various organizations in her home town.