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4-H members compete in cornbread cook-off
4-H cornbread baking pic.jpg
Photo provided Area 4-H members earning blue ribbons for their cornbread entries are, first row from left, Kate Gribble and Kody Wood. At back, Will Mayes, Nakira Wescott and Alondra Lassiter. Carl Parris was unavailable for photo.

Cornbread is a staple dish on many southern dinner tables. The bread is associated with the south and is enjoyed for its texture, aroma and taste. Cornbread recipes basically contain the same ingredients of cornmeal, eggs, flour and milk, but can be individualized with additional items. 

Warren County 4-H members in grades 4-12 were invited to enter cornbread in a Cornbread Cook-off.  Recipes had to contain at least one cup of cornmeal or one package of corn meal mix.  

This contest is an educational way for youth to experience the joys of cooking, developing skills and a lifelong love of good food and healthy eating. The students were encouraged to use creative recipes and incorporate fresh ingredients. 

Judges based scores on creativity, appearance and taste. Fourth and fifth grades entered the traditional category, using simple, old-fashioned cornbread recipes.  

Sixth through 12th-grade members entered the specialty category. This category encouraged youth to get creative with flavors, add-ins and special ingredients. Flavors ranged from sweet to savory and spicy. Recipes were judged on ingredients, taste and appearance. Twenty-one 4-H members competed in the cook-off. 

Kate Gribble received first place in the traditional category. Kody Wood received second place, and Nakira Wescott received third place. 

In the specialty category, Carl Parris received first place for his maple bacon recipe. Alondra Lassiter received second, and Will Mayes received third.

Parris’ award-winning recipe follows: 

Maple Bacon

Corn Muffins

4 ounces bacon

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a skillet to medium-high. Chop the bacon and cook until slightly crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set the skillet aside.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Whisk in the milk and eggs, followed by the melted butter, maple syrup and 1/4 cup reserved bacon grease. Stir the bacon pieces back into the mixture.

Place muffin liners in a 12 cup muffin tin, or spray an unlined muffin tin thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Evenly divide the mixture into the muffin tin. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the muffin tin and serve warm.