Wesleyan grad pens second cookbook, ‘Better Bites II’

Bambi Denmark Frazier dishes about what led her to write not one -- but two -- original cookbooks with all her favorite dishes

'Better Bites" and "Better Bites II" author, Bambi Denmark Frazier

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A West Virginia Wesleyan College and Elkins High School graduate recently published her second cookbook.

Bambi Denmark Frazier just released her second cookbook, “Better Bites II.” Her first cookbook, titled “Better Bites,” was released in 2014.

But the road to finding her true vocation wasn’t initially clear. Although she dreamed of being a news anchor, she eventually found her life’s work in cooking, baking, writing down recipes and documenting the stories behind her delicious creations.

Read on for her story.

As a 9-year-old attending Midland Elementary School in Elkins, Frazier said she got a job delivering newspapers and eventually began dreaming of a news-reporting vocation.

“I watched WTAE-TV religiously in high school because I always knew I wanted to do something that involved talking,” she said. “People always said to ‘do what you love’ and I loved to talk, so I figured being a news anchor was the most respectable way to fine-tune my craft.”

Frazier studied veteran Pittsburgh new anchor Sally Wiggin religiously in the evenings so that she could learn the ropes. After high school, she headed to nearby West Virginia Wesleyan College and during that time, accepted an internship to work behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. at the nationally televised show, “America’s Most Wanted.”

It wasn’t until two years later that Frazier packed up and moved back to West Virginia to work at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg as a weekend news anchor and reporter from 2001 to 2002.

Frazier said along with watching Sally Wiggin, when she was young, she would come home from school and watch a lady that had a PBS Show.

“Her name was Madeline and she was older,” Frazier said. “I loved watching her cook on television. That is my first memory of watching cooking shows.”

Frazier said her “Nana” had a big influence on her love of cooking as well.

“She lived in Parsons when I was a little girl,” Frazier said. “She taught at the Parsons Elementary School, and I would spend weekends with her. She would bake chocolate chip bars. I have vivid memories of sitting on her kitchen counter in Parsons, and she would scrape out the bowl of cookie dough and let me lick the spoon.”

Frazier’s mother Deborah Flank, who lives in Florida now, also nurtured her joy in baking.

“My mom and I would bake homemade brownies all of the time, too,” she said. “We would bake with my sister Tamara Denmark Bailey, who lives in Elkins now and is a professor at WVWC. When I attended Wesleyan and would go home, my mom would cook for me. When you are away from home and miss that home-cooked meal, it’s great to get it. My mom didn’t cook a whole, whole lot, but when she did, it was tasty. She was a slow, slow cook and it was always very good.”

Frazier said he passion for cooking flourished over the years.

“When I got to Savannah, I had just met the man who would become my husband – before I moved back to West Virginia to work at WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, W.Va. – and he kept telling me I needed to do a cookbook,” Frazier said. “I started gathering recipes but it was not something I ever thought I would do. But he kept giving me a little nudge every so often, so I kept my recipes and eventually, I had enough to make a cookbook – so that is how it happened.”

Now Frazier has released her second cookbook.

“There will be a third one at some point,” she said. “I am just now starting to gather my recipes for that one.””

Frazier said this second cookbook is a hodgepodge of everything.

“I don’t have just one type of preference,” she commented. “In Washington, D.C. where we live, we have every kind of restaurant and food available from all over the world. So, in this cookbook you will get a recipe for fajitas and a recipe for cupcakes that were my top-secret recipe – at the time I had a cupcake company – and I had a recipe for red velvet cupcakes that I swore I would never share. But I included it in this cookbook because I want people who want to learn how to bake, I want them to have every single secret I have. So, my recipe for the red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing is in this cookbook.”

Frazier said the beauty of her cookbooks is that the recipes are simple.

“I don’t believe in making anything hard, and I want to enjoy my time in the kitchen,” she said. “I want it to be easy so that is the way I make my recipes.”

Frazier said like her beloved Nana from Parsons, her daughters enjoy watching and helping her cook; at least two out of three have the cooking bug.

“I have another one who would just rather be my taster,” Frazier laughed. “She has no desire to cook. The microwave is her best friend. But the other two, if we are home on a weekend, we are making something homemade for sure.”

She said one of her daughters asked for a mixer for Christmas.

“She is 11 years old, and I asked her if she really wanted a mixer and she said she wanted a mixer. So, we got her a mixer for Christmas.”

Frazier said every recipe in her cookbook has a story with it.

“What I like about it so much is that some of the stories are funny,” Frazier said. “Since my Nana passed on, some of the stories melt my heart. Both of my cookbooks are dedicated to my Nana. She got to see that both were dedicated to her, and she got to see that before she passed away.

“When people see each recipe, they can know how each recipe came about and the story behind it,” Frazier added.

Frazier preparing a dish in her own kitchen.

Frazier married her husband of 15 years, Chan Frazier, became a mom of three girls and worked diligently on her cookbook series. Once the first one was complete, she knew she would publish a second.

Her news career ultimately came to an end, because, as she explains, “I fell out of love with that I thought was a lifelong dream. Once I met that goal of becoming a news anchor, I was done. I needed something more.”

And more is exactly what she found, but unlike TV news, it wasn’t there waiting for her. She had to build it. Frazier has now combined her love of cooking and being on camera on her YouTube channel “Creatively Bambi.”

It is one of the two businesses she is fully immersed in, the other one being a successful internet marketing and media management firm that she co-owns with her husband and business partner in Washington, D.C.

However, Frazier admits, cooking is her first love and the cookbooks are the perfect way to showcase that.

“These are not just cookbooks to me,” she said. “They’re history and documentation of the delicious meals and snacks that have brought so many people together.”

This newest cookbook release features many stories about her time in West Virginia and also has contributions from her close friends in Washington, D.C. Many of the recipes are featured on Frazier’s YouTube channel, so, as she puts it “you can cook right along with me, and we can keep making memories together.”

Frazier said her cookbooks are currently available on Amazon or www.creativelybambi.com.

“Unfortunately, we have not stocked the local stores as of yet, but that is the eventual plan,” Frazier said. “We want to eventually have it carried locally.”

Frazier said she doesn’t get home very often, but said she enjoys visiting everyone when she is here.

“Last time we were home, my niece had a soccer game, and I told everyone we needed to go to the Dairy King while we were in Buckhannon,” Frazier said. “There are not too many places where you can get a piece of real fudge cake, but we enjoyed eating it there!”