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Country Kitchen
September 5, 2008 Next Recipe
FIRST PLACE, WHITE CHICKEN CHILI, Edwina Dykes, Barbour County
SECOND PLACE, SOUTHWESTERN SOUP, Carol Goodson, Houston County
THIRD PLACE, FRUIT SOUP, Karan Tucker, Fayette County
COLD PEACH SOUP, Nancy Farrow, Tallapoosa County
BAKED POTATO SOUP, Susan Sarro, Talladega County
GREEN CHILI SOUP, Margaret Jones, St. Clair County
SANTA FE SOUP, Nancy Davis, Shelby County
CHILLED BLUEBERRY SOUP, Ashley Smith, Russell County
CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP, Carol Knight, Randolph County
POTATO SOUP, Virginia Abercrombie, Morgan County
TURNIP GREEN SOUP, Dianne Nall, Monroe County
EIGHT CAN SOUP, Patsy Fincher, Mobile County
BLACK BEAN SOUP, Doris McGuire, Limestone County
BLACK BEAN SOUP, Carole Clements, Lee County
TACO SOUP, Brad Brooks, Lauderdale County
TURNIP GREEN SOUP, Shirley Weeks, Lamar County
FRESH STRAWBERRY SOUP, Eloise Rosser, Jefferson County
REDUCED-FAT TACO SOUP, Frances Loyd, Jackson County
HAM AND BEAN SOUP, Shirley Ezzell, Franklin County
STRAWBERRY SOUP, Virginia Saxon, Etowah County
CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP, Loretta Culpepper, Dale County
HAMBURGER SOUP, Nancy Garrison, Cullman County
PASTA E FAGIOLI, Janice Hollis, Crenshaw County
TACO SOUP, Nora Kelley, Coosa County
JIMMY’S TACO SOUP, Jimmy Jimmerson, Cleburne County
CHEESEBURGER SUPREME SOUP, Lillian Slay, Chambers County
CREAMY SWEET POTATO SOUP, Linda Findley, Calhoun County
CHEESEBURGER SOUP, Dixie Black, Butler County
SANTA FE SOUP, Melita Cantey, Bullock County
CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP, Barbara Pool, Blount County
NEW YEAR�S DAY BLACK-EYED PEA SOUP, Jean Fontaine, Baldwin County

Minutes after hearing cookbook author Leslie Bailey declare that "there are no new recipes," Edwina Dykes of Barbour County proved her right by using a borrowed recipe that she personalized into a hearty soup to take first place in the Heritage Cooking Contest in Montgomery on Thursday, Sept. 4.

The annual statewide competition, sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation's Women's Leadership Division and held at the corporate offices of Alfa Insurance, drew winners from 28 county Federations who entered their favorite soup recipes.

Dykes' White Chicken Chili, a flavorful concoction of Great Northern beans, canned chicken and white chili seasoning, evoked praise from the three judges and earned the blue ribbon and a top prize of $150.

Second place and $100 went to Carol Goodson of Houston County for her hearty Southwestern Soup. Karan Tucker of Fayette County, whose mother Mary Tucker won third place in the 2007 contest, repeated the feat by capturing the $50 third-place prize with her tasty Fruit Soup.

For Dykes, whose husband Larry is a hay and cattle producer and president of the Barbour County Farmers Federation, the win was particularly surprising since it was only the second time she had made the White Chicken Soup -- the first was when she prepared it for the contest at the county level.

"I was actually going to do a Santa Fe soup in our county cook-off, but then someone else in our county did that," explained Dykes of Louisville. "So she said, 'Let me give you my daughter-in-law's recipe.' It's a really delicious recipe, and it would be wonderful for any occasion. And it's very easy to make. Easy, simple and delicious."

The Heritage Cooking Contest strives to showcase the flavor, versatility and nutritional value of Alabama agricultural products. Dishes were judged on taste, appearance and ease of preparation. Judges were: Judy Brown, a retired Extension agent; Barbara Fennell of the State Board of Education; and Denise Butts, owner of Uniquely Yours Catering in Prattville.

"We had a lot of different types of soups," said Kim Earwood, director of the Federation's Women's Leadership Division. "We had cold soups, fruit soups and the typical hot soups. So we had a wide array."

While the entries were being judged, contestants and guests were treated to a lively presentation from Bailey, author of "Hey, Leslie! What's Cooking?," a collection of more than 150 of her favorite recipes.

Bailey, who hosts a WSFA-TV cooking show of the same title and owns Silver Spoon Caterers in Montgomery, kept the audience laughing as she prepared dishes like Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball from her book, talked about her menagerie of cats and praised farmers for their role in bringing food to the table.

"All of you out there are probably much better cooks than I could ever hope to be," Bailey told the audience. "Now, cooking has never been hard for me. My mother was a great cook. My grandmother was a great cook. Everyone out here brings to the table recipes that have been passed from generation to generation -- and I know there are some you share out there. Do you share your recipes? You do? Good. Because whether you know it or not, there are really no new recipes. You may put a little spin on what you brought today. And I'm sure that it's the most delicious soup because you put your special ideas into it -- you know what I'm talking about. It's what caterers call fairy dusting."

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