Chester County Kitchens with West Chester Mayor Carolyn Comitta

Photos by Larry McDevitt
We already explore the abundance of Chester County foods, so join us as we get an inside look at the kitchens of Chester County, where the delicious local foods connect with our families. The first kitchen we tour is inside the gorgeous home of West Chester’s newly elected Mayor, Carolyn Comitta.

When I arrived, Mayor Comitta welcomed me with a cup of coffee and invited me to sit in her “favorite” spot in her kitchen. I had a view of the garden courtyard to discuss her favorite foods to eat and prepare in her fabulous kitchen.

On family time:

“My husband, Tom, and I had Frens and Frens, LLC Restoration Architects remodel this space about 7 years ago, once the kids were in high school (now ages 22 and 24.) When we bought the house about 20 years ago, the kitchen lacked light, was a bit cave-like and a little cramped. In that kitchen space we still ate together as a family everyday and I always made breakfast for the family. It’s important to have breakfast together. My mother always made breakfasts for the family and I do, too.

Favorite Snack:

“Popcorn. I LOVE popcorn, all kinds!” How does she make it? Popped in the microwave with half a stick of butter melted on top and salt! (she keeps a piece of cardboard in her popcorn maker with her “secret” times for her two favorite brands. “Orville Redenbacher 2-2.5 minutes. Jolly Time 2 minutes.” How to eat it? With a towel in your lap to easily wipe greasy hands on while reading, traveling or watching a movie. “Eat, wipe, repeat.”

Favorite Meals to Cook: Chili and Frittata

On her Chili:I think I make the best chili in the world. It’s a organic turkey chili with a variety of beans, canned tomatoes and all organic ingredients. The taste is a mix of my favorite chili from restaurants, and I love serving it over multi-grain pasta (with omega 3 in it) with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream on top.”

On her Frittata: “As I said, I’m a huge fan of eating breakfast with my husband so we can spend time together before our hectic days start. During the Grower’s Market season I love buying fresh and local produce (spinach, mushrooms, peas) from the market and using some organic apple chicken sausage from Trader Joe’s. I like to top it with some salsa and a bit of sour cream. Mmm, I love it.”

What she DOESN’T Make:

I don’t bake. I used to but now I leave the sweets up to the experts in town, like Eclat Chocolate. I have a bowl of them at home and at the office; I’m into chocolate diplomacy.”

Setting the mood:

“When my husband and I eat together we always have candles and flowers on the table. We like to set a romantic atmosphere when we sit down to eat, and we usually play some jazz music in the background (Take note of the “Honey Pie Award” pin she’s wearing on her sweater in the picture. Tom gave it to her 30 years ago and she wears it every Febuary).”

The Kitchen Dance Floor:

“This area right here between the refrigerator and the island is our little “dance floor.” The “ladies (my mother-in-law and me and my daughter)” always dance in the kitchen when we cook together. It’s always a nice tradition to cook Italian Wedding soup and dance together during the holidays. Of course, after dinner Tom will also ask to dance. We took a Latin dance class and love to practice our moves. This is also the spot where I can practice my yoga; it’s wonderful.”

Her favorite spot:

My favorite spot is the chair you are sitting in. I get to see the courtyard, the sky, Tigger (her cat) and the plants. We designed this space to feel like a sun porch, so I feel the sunlight and it’s nice to let the outside in.”

Favorite Restaurants:

“In keeping with my 3/50 plan for the residents (a local stimulus plan in which she encourages folks to pick 3 of their favorite local businesses they would miss if they were gone and commit to spending $50 there a month), Tom and I support many restaurants in town. We are blessed to have such an excellent variety of shops and restaurants, I would love to thank all the restaurants of West Chester for their generous and delicious support of my swearing-in ceremony on Jan 4th at borough hall. We had more than 100 restaurants, businesses and individuals donate food, flowers and everything needed for a celebration of this town’s bounty. There are too many wonderful places to pick favorites.”

What you’ll ALWAYS find in her kitchen:

Pepper grinders
Balsamic vinegar from A Taste of Olive (current favorite is Champagne Pear)
Dark-Roast, Shade-Grown Organic Coffee from Trader Joe’s

Favorite Cookbook:

The South Beach Diet Cookbook. “I love the recipes in it; they are so flavorful, easy and healthy.”

Hectic Schedules:

“Being newly appointed, my schedule is a bit more hectic and the roles have reversed a bit with my husband. I’m not cooking as much as I used to, so Tom always offers to “cook” and by cook he means “gourmet take out.” One night Tom had the table set with candles and he picked up food for dinner, plated it and waited patiently for me to get home. It was so late by the time we finally sat down to eat together that he raised his glass and said ‘Bon App-asleep!’”