When I met Dave Emke in the summer of 2011, I never thought I'd be taking over a job he didn't even have yet less than a year later.
Dave was the features/entertainment reporter here at the paper, and I was Chautauqua Institution's public relations intern.
We worked together on a couple of assignments and his "Dave Does a Shift in Your Shoes" feature in particular. He came to Chautauqua last summer to work an afternoon on the grounds. I showed him around, and we became friends.
Before long, Dave got the promotion to family editor, and he helped me get my foot in the door here at the paper.
We worked together for nine months before he took his talents to West Virginia, leaving me with big shoes to fill.
He taught me a lot about journalism that can't be learned in a classroom, helping me improve my interviewing, writing and editing skills.
Thanks to his help, I feel comfortable filling most of the pages in this and other family department sections, but Dave couldn't prepare me for one task: picking out recipes for Page C2.
Admittedly, I am not a cook.
I've managed to avoid hunger so far in life thanks to my parents, the St. Bonaventure University dining hall, microwaves, and now, my girlfriend.
So, when filling out the recipes page, I'll be using my imagination for the time being. I'll be thinking of what you, the readers, might enjoy making in your spare time.
Thankfully, the Associated Press employs some recipes experts who will give me some dishes to choose from each week. I'll trust that they know what they're doing until I'm proven otherwise.
If the "recipes" were left up to me to write, they would include the steps "remove packaging" and "place in microwave for 90 seconds."
Maybe one day I'll discover my inner calling as a kitchen master. In the meantime, I'll keep tearing apart the smoke alarm anytime I put something on the stove or in the oven.
I've told anyone who will listen that I'm very happy in my new position. I hope you'll enjoy our family department sections under my watch.