tasty bio

Booksigning photo
When her mother rotationally volunteered in the elementary school cafeteria, assisting several blind students at lunch, Ruth went independently to the Burger Basket near school for her mid-day meal…8 years old and honing her restaurant reviewing skills for future experiences. Comfortable in an environment with mostly adults at the Burger Basket, she found being in New York several times yearly with a widowed aunt, a real dining adventure. She particularly enjoyed running down streets near Park Avenue alone and purchasing chestnuts from the street vendors prior to going out to dinner with her aunt. One favorite restaurant was a small Italian walk-down with a dark interior, red and white-checked tablecloths, and sawdust intentionally scattered about the floor. The Russian Tearoom was another special spot, long remembered.

Her love of ethnic foods began just as early in her life, her next-door neighbors were Armenian, and made wonderful treats like Dolmas and Pilaf. But it was that first Peanut Stuffed Lobster at the Clam Shop that reeled her in, along with Julia Child and Graham Kerr prodding her culinary interest on TV.

Writing and experimentation, with a touch of Master Classes in food, rounded out her experiences. Her first recipe was written when she was 13 years old – Sloppy Joes (not named for her father!) and her first recipe win – Sour Cream Coffee Cake sponsored by the local Newspaper. Along a creative and diverse career path, she found her way to the kitchen and on to Food Columns, TV, Restaurant Reviewing, Special In-person Guest Appearances, Recipe Development, Consulting, Culinary Education, Publishing, and Product Development.

For the past 20 years, Ruth has concentrated on health, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. You will often find her testing and developing recipes for health-driven cookbooks in her 1840 Greek Revival Michigan Farm House with her artist husband, David McCall Johnston, three dogs, a chicken, and not often enough, her children and grandchildren from Chicago.

Special food-related childhood dreams turned reality – Ruth’s professional contact with Julia Child and a continued friendship with Graham Kerr.