Thursday, April 7, 2011

Favorite Food Contest

In our area, 4-H offers a fun contest called the Favorite Food Contest. This is Miss Abigail's favorite contest! The Favorite Food Contest tests the children in their knowledge of the FDA food pyramid by challenging them to create a nutritious menu plan for a day, with the proper number of servings from each food group, and then to chose one of the dishes from the menu to cook. The children create a place setting with a theme if they want, or at least a centerpiece, and all the proper dishes, untensils and linens to serve the meal on the daily menu which includes the "favorite" dish. Then the children have to actually cook that dish in an on-site kitchen and serve it to a judge.

Abigail was judged on a number of things. She had to be prepared to tell the judge which food groups were represented by her dish, the nutritients in each of the various ingredients in the dish, and how these nutrients function in her body. She was prepared to describe the food pyramid and explain how many servings of each group she needed and how many calories she needs each day. She was prepared to answer questions about her table setting and how she prepared the dish and she had to demonstrate knowledge of food safety and kitchen safety as well. This year, as a junior contestant, she also had to understand and calculate cost per serving for her dish. Then the judge tasted the food and scored her on how well it tasted and whether it was colorful, etc. Plus, there was a kitchen monitor who watched  her as she cooked and scored her on food safety, independence in the kitchen, getting the food to the table at the right time, etc. She was given a judging time and the food had to be ready at that time. The contest can be pretty rigorous, but she seems to have fun! She continues to want to do it every year. You can see the table setting and recipe from last year's contest here, if you are interested.

This was Miss Abigail's fourth time to participate in this contest and I think it was easier for her in many ways. Abigail is now quite independent in the kitchen and she understands more and more about timing the preparation. She thoroughly understands the food pyramid and making the daily menu is no longer so difficult. She still gets worried about remembering the functions of the nutrients and speaking to the judge, but she always does so well. This year she brought home the red ribbon and is happy that she can compete again at the district contest later this year.

Abigail's food was an ordinary week-day main dish called "Southwest Spaghetti Pie". If you would like to try it out, you can find the recipe here on the Mower family food blog.


  1. Oh this brings back such wonderful memories! I loved my 4H food days. Looks like Abigail did a very nice job. I really like her table setting. I know how proud you must be of her!!!

  2. Mary Ann, I am happy to hear of another 4H fan. This program has been so helpful to me - the curriculum and activities are great! I know 4H is not exactly the same in all parts of the country, but the programs in New Mexico are absolutely fabulous!

    Miss Abigail says thank you for the nice compliment. ;o)

  3. Way to go Miss Abigail! The table setting is gorgeous. Sounds like a wonderful contest and a great "challenge" for a girl in food prep and safety & nutrition, not to mention having a judge taste and critique your cooking. Good job!

  4. This program sounds so rigorous for young people and yet offers the opportunity to learn so much practical information that they will be able to use the rest of their lives. Abigail looks so happy and her place setting is beautiful. Congratulations to her for her red ribbon and best wishes in the next round of judging!

  5. Miss Abigail is so pleased with your compliments. Thank you ladies!


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