Local 4-H’ers make the grade in culinary competition

MIDDLEBURY — Although Feb. 23 may have been cold and blustery outside, inside it was positively tropical as 29 local 4-H club members took part in the annual Addison County 4-H Foods Day, which featured a Hawaiian luau theme this year. 
The 4-H’ers gathered at Middlebury Union Middle School in Middlebury for labs, a culinary contest and buffet lunch. University of Vermont Extension 4-H in Addison County sponsored the event, which was open to any 4-H’er with an interest in foods and nutrition.
Susan Bodette, a nutrition educator with the UVM Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, presented a nutrition lab where the youths learned about healthy food choices and portion size. They also played volleyball with others in their age group as part of an exercise lab, which focused on the importance of staying active.
In the foods lab the 4-H’ers prepared dishes for the buffet lunch with the help of 4-H leaders Heather Mattison of Whiting, Janet Piper of Bridport, and Melinda Piper of Sudbury. The older 4-H’ers, Grades 8-12, made chicken kabobs, Grades 5-7 prepared BBQ pork wonton tacos and Grades K-4 made two kinds of Hawaiian salsa.
For the culinary contest each age group was assigned a different food category and asked to make a dish at home to bring for evaluation and to share at lunch. Entries were judged by Addison County 4-H adult volunteers on taste, appearance, nutritional information, table setting and appropriate garnishes, among other criteria. 
Winners were:
Grades K-2 (appetizers): Noah Sheldrick, Salisbury, bacon-wrapped chicken (first); Desiree Plouffe, Bridport, wild Hawaiian cocktail meatballs (second); Timmy Wright, Whiting, glazed kielbasa bites (third).
Grades 3-4 (salads): David Bertrand, Whiting, Hawaiian fruit salad (first); Trevor Wright, Whiting, healthier Hawaiian macaroni salad (second); Caroline Allen, Panton, Hawaiian grilled chicken salad (third).
Grades 5-7 (entrées): Jordan Bertrand, Whiting, Hawaiian pork tenderloin (first); Lydia Raymond, Charlotte, Hawaiian pulled pork (second); Emma Oliver, Bridport, sweet and sour pineapple chicken (third).
Grades 8-12 (desserts): Brooke Bertrand, Whiting, old fashioned Hawaiian dream bars; Nick Sheldrick, Salisbury, pineapple icebox cake (second); Katherine Whipple, Bridport, Hawaiian berry bread pudding (third).
All 4-H Foods Day participants received a Hawaiian lei and recipe booklet containing the contest recipes. They also donated canned goods for the Addison County Emergency Food Shelf in Middlebury.
For information about the 4-H cooking project or Addison County 4-H, contact UVM Extension 4-H educator Martha Seifert at (802) 388-4969, ext. 355, or [email protected].

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