Log in Subscribe

From bland to bam!

By ZOË WATKINS - zwatkins@t-g.com
Posted 2/25/23

Cooking with a Veteran founder and host Dave Rogers has a new cookbook out to help you turn your everyday meals from “bland to bam!”

Chock-full of savory recipes, Rogers pulls …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

From bland to bam!


Cooking with a Veteran founder and host Dave Rogers has a new cookbook out to help you turn your everyday meals from “bland to bam!”

Chock-full of savory recipes, Rogers pulls inspiration from his many places of travel as well as some of his go to favorites.

This is Rogers’ second cookbook, and he even has a third one — full of ‘bland to bam’ breakfast recipes — coming out in March. He said he has no intention of writing this cookbook, but as life has it, surprises are least expected.

It all started with his love for veterans. A 14-year Combat Army veteran himself, Rogers began a cooking show online (Cooking with a Veteran) during 2020 to help feed World War II veterans. From this came his first cookbook of basic recipes.

“People were talking to me about how they love the way that I reinvent meals…And that’s where the title comes from ‘From Bland to Bam.’ It’s all about looking at food in a new way,” he said.

Rogers admits even for a time, he saw food as just something to put into your body, causing him to get in a rut.

It also didn’t help that his mother wasn’t the best of cooks either. Growing up in New York, Rogers said he and his family sustained on food stamps. So, it was pasta and ketchup or hotdogs on Wonder bread for dinner — and once a month, they’d get a huge block of “government cheese” to last the month.

“But as bad as a cook as she was, my mother did give me the inspiration for trying new things,” he said. Plus, growing up in the food capital of the world helped with this.

“So, I’ve always been fascinated by food,” he said.

However, it was until he traveled and lived in China for about six years in a teacher exchange program that he realized how “Americanized” food is in the states.

“And then I started meeting chefs and restaurant owners because I wanted to learn how to make those dishes for myself,” Rogers said.

So today, he’s cooking with all kinds of ingredients, including his favorite meat, duck. With this he makes crispy duck and any leftovers he turns in Portuguese Duck Rice.

“To make crispy duck is actually a two-day process,” Rogers explained. “But really great food takes time.”

But it’s worth it because of the flavor. “Food is meant to be enjoyed. It’s not meant to just be substance,” Rogers said. “Besides painting, food is my sanctuary.” It’s not so much the eating; rather it’s the process and the end product.

This book also helps people get creative with staples. For example, the European style Hasselback potatoes one can use with extra potatoes. The book even helps with reinventing leftovers, such as with meatloaf and BBQ, which can be turned in Texas Meat Chili.

Rogers’ show can be found on YouTube at Cooking with a Veteran. His shows are different from others since they are filmed live — so there might be a mistake here and there. But that’s alright because even the best chefs make mistakes, Rogers said.

“I want to show people that it’s all possible,” he said.

You can find this cookbook on Amazon. Part of the money from the purchase will go to the VFW National Home in Eaton Rapids, Mich. It helps veterans and their families get back on their feet.

Food insecurity among veterans is one of the biggest issues among that community. “Food insecurity hits them all,” Rogers said.