HARDIN — It was an emotional win for Darla Jones, Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Crossroads in Hardin.
When the Sidney cook was named the grand prize winner of the 2018 Sidney Daily News Harvest Holiday Cookbook Cook-off, she burst into tears and then fell to her knees, arms raised above her head, in praise to God and in honor of her late husband. There was not a dry eye in the house.
Twenty-four semifinalists in six categories presented dishes to three expert judges and to category-prize sponsors during the event.
Jones won with her Peanut Butter and Potato Chip Truffles, that had been entered in the Carry-In Faves category. A long-time recipe submitter and frequent cook-off semi-finalist, she took top honors for the first time. She won the Clancy’s $300 cash prize and the Gateway Arts Council $50 category prize.
Mark Brown, of Sidney, prepared Sauerkraut Salad for his first Daily News competition and went home with the $50 Wilson Health Scrumptious Sides category prize and the runner-up grand prize, a $50 gift certificate from Allison’s Custom Jewelry.
Winning the Flint’s TV & Appliance $50 Main Dishes prize was Rose Schlater, of Versailles, with Chicken Bacon Alfredo Roll Ups.
Deb Moorman, of Sidney, went away with the Clancy’s $50 Pastabilities prize for Parmesan Garlic Spaghetti.
The Ohio Living Dorothy Love $50 prize for desserts was won by Peggy Cundiff, of Sidney. She presented Maple Bourbon Brown Butter Peach Pie.
Kathy Ingle’s Million Dollar Fudge captured the Sidney and Troy CarStar $50 prize in the Holiday Traditions category. Ingle is from Piqua.
Jones credited divine intervention with the win. She had taken with her to the event a small photo of her husband, a copy of his favorite Bible verse and a poem she reads to ease her grief at losing him.
Expert judges Rob Schmiesing, executive chef at Fair Haven; Misty Shroyer, cafeteria manager of Sidney City Schools; and Gary Strasser, manager of Clancy’s; and category judge Annette Purkey, representing Gateway Arts Council were intrigued by the combination of ingredients in the winning recipe.
“I’ve seen a lot of chocolate and peanut butter together and some potato chips and chocolate together, but never peanut butter and potato chips and chocolate,” Schmiesing said.
“It’s like a buckeye (candy), but not as dense,” Shroyer added.
Dolores Droesch joined Schmiesing, Shroyer and Strasser in selecting the sauerkraut salad as a category winner. It was from among the category winners that the grand prize and runner-up winners were named.
“It doesn’t taste like sauerkraut. The sweetness of it was a surprise,” Strasser said.
Rachel Hale represented Ohio Living Dorothy Love as a judge. Michelle Mumford did the same for Sidney and Troy CarStar, as did Elisa Strasser for Clancy’s and Laura Wildenhaus for Flint’s TV & Appliance.
Throughout the day, newly published books from national publishers, gift cards and gift items donated by area businesses were given as door prizes. Following the judging, the attendees enjoyed sampling all the food and each left with a gift bag of contributed items.
The 2018 Harvest Holiday Cookbook will be distributed in the Sidney Daily News issue of Nov. 17. It will be available for single-copy sale after that date. Advance orders for additional copies can be placed now. Single copies picked up in the newspaper offices at 1451 N. Vandemark Road cost $1.50 each. Copies to be delivered by mail cost $5 each. Watch the newspaper for order blanks. For information or to order, call 937-538-4826.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.