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Fackler enjoys cooking for a cure
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Mary Fackler, right, works for Hooker Furniture, where she heads a team for Relay for Life, a fundraiser for American Cancer Society. Here, she and ACS Communications Manager Karen Sgrinia cook a meal. (Bulletin photo by Vicky Morrison)
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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By VICKY MORRISON - Bulletin Accent Writer

Mary Fackler is accustomed using her cooking for a good cause. As a Relay for Life team captain, Fackler spends much of her time plotting the next bake sale or cookoff.

Fackler’s team is Hook for a Cure. It is sponsored by her employer, Hooker Furniture, where she is a traffic coordinator. As team captain, Fackler is the driving force on her team as they compete to raise the most money throughout the year in support of finding a cure for cancer, which culminates in the Relay for Life, held June 14 at the Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School. The most successful way, Fackler has found, is through food.

Her workplace holds cookoffs and bake sales for American Cancer Society (ACS) throughout the year, frequently earning from $350 to 500. The cookoffs usually have a theme, such as salads, soups, desserts or main dishes. Anywhere from 12 to 15 people participate, Fackler said.

Fackler, 55, was taught to cook by her mother, the late Anne Foley. Foley’s French and German descent influenced her cooking. Her mother cooked sauerkraut and roast corn beef for special events.

It wasn’t until Fackler married her husband, Jerry, that she began to cook herself. Forty years later, Fackler credits her mother-in-law, Colene Fackler, for her cooking expertise. “My mother-in-law was a big influence,” she said. “She was always good about offering advice or giving you recipes.”

Colene Fackler is “always trying to make things healthier with low fat or no fat recipes,” Fackler said. According to Fackler, her mother-in-law can remake any type of recipe to be healthier. A favorite of Fackler’s that her mother-in-law makes is tamale pie.

Fackler also got one of her cooking staples from Colene: “Colene Fackler’s Trophy Winning Chicken Salad.” Fackler got the recipe around the time she got married. It was significant that her mother-in-law shared it because “nobody can make it like she does,” she said.

At one cookoff, Fackler came in second with the legendary chicken salad “to a lady who made homemade egg rolls, and they were so good,” she said emphatically.

Other salads Fackler makes are also a hit: The only macaroni salad Tre, her 12-year-old grandson and a self-proclaimed mayonnaise hater, would eat was Fackler’s. “For the longest time, we didn’t tell him it was mayonnaise” that was the base of the dressing, Fackler chuckled.

Colene Fackler helped her daughter-in-law to learn to cook healthily and without waste. Colene Fackler had seven children, so she needed to prepare the right amount of food.

Mary Fackler enjoys simply, healthy dishes. She especially enjoys adding salads onto the meal. She also prefers to cook dinner in the morning. “I’ll get up and start frying some pork chops or throw a meat loaf in the oven in the morning and get ready while it’s cooking,” she said.

“All men should be self-sufficient,” Fackler said. She taught her son, J.L. Fackler, how to cook. He likes to make tacos and spaghetti. Fackler is waiting for the day when she can help her grandson Tre learn to cook.

Although Fackler prefers healthier cooking, she bakes occasionally. She makes Toll House cookies her mother taught her to make, or chocolate cupcakes with white icing.

She also likes to make marble cupcakes. She has gotten used to making cupcakes. “Across the years, you make cupcakes for school,” she said. “Everybody with kids has made cupcakes.”

Fackler and the Hook for a Cure are just one of the many teams that will participate in the Relay. Almost 50 teams participated in the 2012 Relay for Life, earning $120,000, according to a press release. This year’s goal is $111,000, said Administrative Assistant Nancy Keatts. The event often features a medley of baked goods sold to raise more funds for ACS. In addition to being an event of fun and games, the Relay honors cancer victims and survivors with a lighting ceremony.


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