Janet's Notebook
Heirloom Contest Winner Inspires Recipes, Friendships At Blue Ribbon Showcase Event

Jamie Burris with Daughter Mikaela

The family table is bigger than even we could have imagined! That's what we learned from the amazing group of home cooks that recently gathered together in Franklin, TN to honor Heirloom Recipe Contest winner Jamie Burris at the Just A Pinch Blue Ribbon Showcase event.

"My great-grandparents emigrated from Lithuania in the early 20th century and brought with them this potato recipe that I have been eating my whole life," says Jamie of her winning Kugelis recipe. While she doesn't get to make it as often as she used to, it just isn't a holiday around her home without the dish.

While Jamie downplays the attention she's received for her dish, we couldn't be more tickled to have such a lovely heirloom story - and family - come into our kitchen. Her family food history, like those of the other recipes entered in the contest, touched us like you wouldn't believe. Each member of the Kitchen Crew is part of rich food legacies of their own, and these family stories really hit home with each and every one of us.

Accompanying Jamie on her Grand Prize trip to Nashville was her sweet 9-year old daughter, Mikaela, who was celebrating her birthday while visiting with us. It was a joy to see such a close-knit mother-daughter duo, and we were thrilled that Jamie chose to continue the tradition of family cooking by bringing her daughter to celebrate with her. Like so many children, Mikaela was eager to help her mom out and get in on the kitchen action. We love nothing more than seeing youngsters taking an active role in the food they eat. I say give that girl a squeeze... and another piece of birthday cake!

As part of Jamie's Grand Prize, the Arkansas twosome caught a show at the historic Grand Ole Opry, ate at some of the Nashville area's best restaurants, shopped 'til they dropped on a $1,000 shopping spree at the Viking Kitchen Store, and tooled around town with a chauffeured driver. Whew, all in a day's win for the Burris ladies!

While the temps outside rose into the sultry triple digits, the crowd assembled at the Blue Ribbon Showcase sipped chilly iced tea and noshed on a delicious menu of all the runners-up in the Heirloom Recipe contest. Marybeth Mank's Blue Ribbon Swedish Meatballs (nestled on a buttery bed of curly egg noodles) paired up with Mary Morris' yummy Eggplant Pie with Bechamel. Next came a sampling of the Grand Prize winning Kugelis, a rich amalgam of bacon, potatoes, egg, and other such scrumptiousness. To top off the afternoon's tasting, we enjoyed picture perfect slices of Mary Shiver's Almond-Laced Banana Cake! An A+ meal all the way around.

What was perhaps the highlight of the entire event was the big round of applause that greeted each of the generational dishes. Former contest winner Jackie Mento hosted the day's festivities and led us through the menu as each recipe was served. Rooted in distinct cultures and customs, the spotlight recipes brought together a uniquely American grouping of new friends who were wowed by what the winning families have known all along... that humble, home-cooked food can shine as brightly as any five star restaurant dish. (And you can get seconds!)

Congratulations to all the deserving winners! CLICK HERE to see more of the day's Showcase festivities!

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Straws Kitchen - Aug 18, 2012
CONGRATULATIONS to all the winners in the Heirloom contest.
Kim Biegacki - Aug 14, 2012
Congrat's to you Jamie, I am so excited for you and your daughter. I loved looking at all the pictures and it was adorable how you daughter was right there with you helping in the kitchen and being a wonderful assistant. It had to be so much fun for her too. I look forward to trying your recipe for Kugelis soon.