At a very young age, Edwin Soto’s family moved from New Jersey to New York City. This Brooklyn household was headed by his maternal grandmother. The neighborhood had a close-knit ethnic heritage.
Edwin led the single life until he met his wife, Jeesely. After they were first married, they moved to the Bronx and Manhattan. They decided to move to a more suburban place when they started to think about a family of their own. So started a job search for both Edwin and Jeesely. They settled on Seattle, Wash.
The night before they were to move, cold feet set in about moving so far from their families. They decided to cancel the move and look to elsewhere (closer to New York City). The Allentown/Bethlehem/Eaton area in Pennsylvania was considered when the town of Pottstown came into the scope. They lived in Pottstown until their landlord sold the property, so they went house hunting. During a rideby, they found a house on the northside of Phoenixville that caught their attention, so they became “accidental” residents in a town they have called home since 2006.
Edwin works in software for Amerigas in King of Prussia. Jeesely is in accounting for Brandolin Companies. Edwin has a little problem with the fact that their 14-year-old son EJ will be starting high school the next year. “Where does time go?” he said. EJ was named after Edwin and Edwin’s Uncle Javier, who was a father figure to Edwin.
Once settled in Phoenixville, he started to volunteer at the Good Samaritan Shelter a few blocks from his house. It is well-known fact if you volunteer in town for one group, you automatically join other groups, which led Edwin to serve on the Phoenixville Planning Commission and the Historical Architectural Review Board.
He does not consider himself political; he just cares. He has been a member of Phoenixville Borough Council for the North Ward since 2015, as well as chairman of the Phoenixville Democratic Committee. Add to this his involvement in the Community Health Foundation and Health Care Access and as board president of Alianzas. Not to be left behind, Jeesley Soto was recently elected to the Phoenixville Area School Board. Their family is deeply rooted in their chosen town.
The family goes back to Brooklyn to visit family and friends. Edwin’s grandmother, who is 81 years young, still lives in the same house where he grew up. His mom, Rosa, moved close by and is active in Phoenixville’s nonprofits. His dad and other family members live in Puerto Rico.
Edwin and I met for this interview at Dunkin’ Donuts and tried some of its goodies. Edwin favors bagels (being a New Yorker), so I shared with him as favorite bagel recipe that is easier to make then some.
EASY OVEN BAKED BAGELS
1 cup of unbleached flour of choice
2 tsp. baking powder
½ to ¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt*
1 egg for wash
*Regular yogurt will make dough too sticky.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place parchment paper on baking sheet, and lightly spray with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk dry ingredients together. Add yogurt, and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined; it should look like small crumbles. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough a few times until dough is tacky — not sticky; dough should come away from hands easily. Divide into four equal balls. Roll each ball into ¾-inch-thick rope, and join at ends. Or make a ball and poke a hole in the center then stretch hole a little. Top both sides with egg wash, and sprinkle both sides with topping(s). Bake on top rack of oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Each bagel from this recipe should have 152 calories. Remember, each tablespoon of cream cheese is an additional 50 calories.
Let Bette Banjack hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.