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The competition utilizes foods that can be found in smaller rural stores and emphasizes limiting food waste, food efficiency, and healthiness of a meal.

Farm Press Staff

March 15, 2024

18 Slides

The Cajun Cuties, 4-H cooking challenge team took home first prize in Saturday’s 4-H Food Pantry Challenge at the Mid-South Farm & Gin Show.

The team consisting of Emily Nevils, Emily Higginbotham, Elizabeth Page and Isabella Schilling from Winnfield Senior High School 4-H Club, Winnfield, La., were challenged by 4-H cooks from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee, then evaluated by a panel of food industry judges considering 4-Hers knowledge and skills related to preparing nutritious foods.

The competitors used items commonly found in rural retail outlets such as Dollar General or Walgreen’s. The contest emphasizes limiting food waste, food efficiency, and healthiness of a meal.

Second place was taken by Seniors with Spatulas — Christian Trombley, Sarah Lamb, Anna Kate McKinnon, and Abi Webb — Howard County 4-H Teen Leaders Club, Nashville, Ark.  Third place went to Slice, Slice, Babies — Daley Rogers and Klaesy Knoefler — Grant County 4th H Cooks, Sheridan, Ark.

Tim Price, show manager and executive vice president of Southern Cotton Ginners Association, noted that we can get almost any food item needed, yet the U.S. discards more food than any other country.

“Millions of pounds of food each year ends up in the garbage,” he said. “Yet, we must not forget there are many families across the U.S. who don’t have enough food, leading to food insecurity/insufficiency.

Related:Highlights from the 2024 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show

The competition utilizes food stuffs that are readily available in areas that are underserved by larger chain grocery stores, but can be found in smaller dollar stores or corner markets.

Before the competition began each team set up their station, which came equipped with a heat source — hot plate or electric skillet — as well as cooking utensils, and pantry staples. Each team received a “mystery box” of food items and had a limited amount of time to create their recipe before presenting their creation to the judges.

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