Oh, what a delicious time we had at the second Just A Pinch Blue Ribbon Showcase! An enthusiastic crowd joined me and the Kitchen Crew in welcoming Springtime Cake Contest winner Jane Freed and her husband Bud to the Viking Culinary Center, home of the Blue Ribbon Showcase.
Traveling with Jane all the way from her home in Clarkston, MI was also a surprise guest… a gigantic cutting from Bud’s own rhubarb patch! Affectionately dubbed “Al”, the impressive rhubarb made quite a splash! I was pleased as punch to join Jane and “Al” in the kitchen as she shared her lifelong love/hate relationship with rhubarb. Like many of us, her childhood memories of the tart weed-like fruit are less than sweet. In fact, Jane joked that her grandmother would be laughing if she could see her as an adult touting the benefits of rhubarb.
“I can hear my grandma laughing right now,” Jane joked during the cooking demonstration. “She is laughing up there…’15 minutes of fame for rhubarb, Jane?!'”
And well-deserved fame it is! Jane led the audience step-by-step through the preparation of her Grand Prize-winning Great Spring Rhubarb Coffee Cake. All the while, guests were treated to a menu chock full of Blue Ribbon favorites:
Lending her enthusiasm and knowledge once again to the Showcase was previous contest winner, Jan Mullikin. Jan pulled double-duty as event emcee and Just A Pinch cheerleader, handing out door prizes to the audience and keeping us crazy cooks in line. Fun just seems to follow Jan wherever she goes!
The Showcase’s grand food finale was a sampling of Jane’s delicious dessert. The coffee cake was so moist and buttery, with just a hint of the rhubarb’s earthy tartness. Many non-believers were soon singing the praises of this under-appreciated fruit. All thanks to Jane and her passion for food.
Before heading off for a whirlwind $1,000 shopping spree at the Viking store and a trip to the Grand Ole Opry, Jane shared a heartfelt wish to all of the ‘Pinchers in attendance. I’d love to leave you all with her thoughts:
“Thank you Lord for the food before us, the friends beside us, and the love between us…”
And thank you, Jane, for sharing your gift of cooking and friendship with us all!