Home / Food Bites & Articles / Janet's Notebook

Blue Ribbon Showcase Honors Family-Friendly Cooking

Marie (R) and I with Missy & her Family!

“You all just don’t understand how cool this is,” exclaimed Family Holiday Traditions contest winner Missy Wimpelberg. Outfitted in a crisp new Just A Pinch apron, Missy stood excitedly before an audience of smiling faces during the recent Blue Ribbon Showcase event held in her honor.

In fact, the pleasure was all ours as the Kitchen Crew and I hosted Missy, her charming husband Scott and their five lovely children as part of her prize-packed weekend!

The fun began on Friday morning with a $1,000 VIP shopping spree at the Viking Kitchen Store, complete with a personal shopper! The day’s icy weather didn’t cool our excitement a bit as we blazed our way through aisle after aisle of sparkly kitchen equipment. By the end of the afternoon, we were tired and oh-so happy… with bag after bag of goodies destined for Missy’s home kitchen.

After a night spent at Nashville’s legendary Opryland Hotel, Missy and the family joined back up with the Kitchen Crew for our Holiday Family Traditions Blue Ribbon Showcase. She and I had the pleasure of leading the crowd through a light-hearted demonstration of Missy’s award-winning Pumpkin Crisp recipe. Previous contest winner Marie Guaragna (Ultimate Salad Toss) served as emcee and kept the energy at full tilt as the audience – filled with Club members, food bloggers, and home cooks of all experience levels – was treated to a four course meal of Just A Pinch Blue Ribbon dishes.

Darla Sibley’s Stuffed Strawberries kicked things off, generating “oohs” and “ahhs” as guests tried their first bite of these deceptively simple beauties. Such a great recipe could only be followed by an equally terrific dish and Cyndi Tilley’s Mandarin Salad fit the bill! The colorful, crisp salad served up a lightly sweet crunch that perfectly ushered in the main course of Grilled Flat Iron Steak (Delores Ward) and Those Potatoes (Kerry Newton). Missy’s Pumpkin Crisp was the star of the afternoon, closing out our terrific meal of award-winning recipes.

The Crew and I had a ball hosting Missy, her beautiful family and all the wonderful guests at our first Showcase event of 2011. The crowd peppered us with terrific questions, including one expertly delivered from Missy’s young daughter upon the close of our cooking. “Mom, can we have this at home more often?!” Missy’s amused response? “Well, I just showed you how to make it, didn’t I?” Looks like Missy has five cooks-in-the-making on her hands!

It’s no accident that Family was the theme of our first Showcase event this year. Here at Just A Pinch, family traditions are at the core of everything we love. From preserving generational recipes to empowering the next generation, we join you in proudly flying the banner of home cooks everywhere!