December 03, 2004

American Food Fights Every year, thousands of amateur cooks enter their masterpieces in hundreds of cooking competitions across America. In food journalist Amy Sutherland's 2004-IACP nominated Cookoff: Recipe Fever in America, this sub-culture is avidly explored to the point where the author gets the competition bug herself. In the world of competitive cooking there are hundreds of contests. There are cook-offs for everything from chili, barbecue, and cornbread to mustard, oysters, and mandarin oranges. According to Sutherland, “the triple crown” is the National Chicken Cooking Contest, The National Beef Cook Off and the grandma of them all, The Pillsbury Bake-off. Cookoffs typically have commercial sponsors that require contestants to use one or more of their products. In other words they are marketing outreach effort. However, more than anything these contests reveal who we are, how we cook and how far we’ll take our hobbies. If you read enough of the recipe submissions some similarities start to appear—recipes are simple using everyday ingredients, are convenient and have a definite orientation toward the home cook. Last year Sutherland was asked in a Salon interview what makes these contests so particularly American. She replied, "We think of competition as a good thing and also a very democratic way to test yourself, to prove yourself by your own wit." She later added, "It also encourages our faith in the ordinary man or in this case, the ordinary cook. They affirm our general faith that an everyday person can be just as creative as an expert." The National...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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