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A Guy’s Gotta Eat

By CAROL SONES SHETLER - | Nov 19, 2020

RUTH FRY/The Luminary Josh Fry has advanced to accomplishing a long list of desserts including incorporating recipes given him by family and friends. In photo Fry with his ‘go to’ dessert…Cherry Pie.

HUGHESVILLE – When Josh Fry makes the announcement “Mom, there’s no snacks in the house,” he doesn’t look to someone else for a remedy, but literally takes the situation into his own hands. Josh will go about the kitchen gathering tools and assembling ingredients. And with three growing boys, someone had to step up and fill the snack plate. And a tip from this successful baker is, “Don’t skimp on the ingredients. For best results, I use top of the line products.”

Even at a young age, before he could read, Josh was eyeing recipe books, especially those with photographs. At the county fair when age 11, the young baker won first place in the chocolate cookie contest. Later that same year, Nicole Coppes asked him to be one of the judges at her annual cookie contest. The decision makers were announced to the participants prior to judging. Coppes introduced Josh as, “An award winning baker,” the conformation being the large Blue Ribbon affixed to his apparel.

When the ever recurring question is asked, “What’s for supper?” Mom would name the meat to which Josh and his brothers would say, “What’s the sides” and Josh would add “Don’t you think we should have mashed potatoes and a vegetable with that?” Not liking mom’s answer, “Just open a can of green beans,” Josh would take over. He would grab the potatoes, start peeling, and if there were meat drippings, Josh whips up gravy too.

Relatives began sharing their favorite recipes with Josh including his Mimi Nancy Sheets. Initially he made cutout cookies while standing on a chair. It took off from there by helping her at Christmas with all the cookies, from measuring, to mixing, to baking. Carol Warren, his aunt, has given Josh many recipes including the traditional cake she makes for the holidays. The aunt said that someday, someone is going to have to make this, and she knew he was the one. His other aunt, Shirley Van Buskirk, will add helpful tips with casseroles, dressings, and dips.

If another mentor was to be identified, it might be Dr. Portia Brandt, the former principal and superintendent at Muncy. Dr. Brandt would give a coupon every year to the faculty for one of her homemade pies. Josh saw the coupon that was given to his dad with different flavors from fruit to cream pies. He told his dad to ask her if she would teach him. And that’s when the pie baking took off. His first pie he baked solo was a cherry pie, and after tweaking his crumb crust recipe, its now no problem to whip them up.

As a teenager, then as now, Josh answers the call to volunteerism. He has served at tea fundraisers, wedding receptions and church suppers. He recently prepared salable food items for the polling place at his church. And too, they depended on Josh’s food donations during a fall craft festival. He also was employed by the Silver Thorn Tavern in Hughesville as a server and prep cook.

Guests at the Fry home can expect treats galore. Recently, Josh took his first attempt at Pumpkin Spice Whoopie Pies that were a hit, adding them to the menu at a Halloween gathering. An added attraction at the gathering was the baker’s costume portraying ‘Captain Crunch.’

The baker could not decide on a favorite recipe, but said, “I guess it would be pie, who doesn’t like pie?” Another comment was, “The messier the kitchen, the better the cooking.”

Josh could be described as ‘Multi-talented,’ as in addition to his cooking and baking talents, he is a sportsman, educator, musician and admirer of local history.