Cooking from scratch is an art form and it’s one that is being encouraged through 4-H as members enter the cooking and baking divisions and through an event that Ziebach County started a few years ago. The CHOPPED cooking event, based on a popular competitive cooking show, is where each group is given the same base ingredients and asked to create an appetizer and a dessert in a two-hour period. The groups are allowed to request a few additional ingredients that the 4-H Leader’s Association can run to the store for. The groups then stand before four judges and present their creations and answer questions.
The impressive entries were created using secret ingredients that were not shared with the clubs until they began the contest. The ingredients included: ground beef, cheddar cheese, oatmeal, flour, tomatoes, rhubarb, honey, wild plum jelly, and canned corn. Teams were judged on presentation, usage of all the secret ingredients, taste, use of food safety, ability to explain how they chose and created the entries, and how well they could discuss the nutritional value of the foods they made.
Following the rules and using all their secret ingredients, the following tasty items were made by the groups. The Mustangs 4-H Club did rhubarb plum crumble parfaits and mini Mexican pizzas. The Top Hand Club made beef quesadillas and plum rhubarb crisp. The Friendly Few Club had way more than a few members present, therefore they broke up into three competing groups. Their first group created grandma’s stew and thumbprint cookies. Their second group made taco salad and rhubarb crisp bars. Their third group, a group of young boys that “didn’t need a woman in the kitchen to do well”, made hash brown beef casserole and oatmeal-crusted rhubarb pie.
After the judges Tracie Henderson, Kiel Lemke, Gail Stambach, and Casey Gage held interviews with each group and did thorough sampling, they named the top placings. In the dessert category, first place went to the Mustangs 4H Club’s rhubarb plum crumble parfaits and second place went to the Friendly Few Group 1 who made the thumbprint cookies. In the appetizer division, The Top Hand club won with their beef quesadillas and the young men in the third group from the Friendly Few Club took second with their hash brown beef casserole.
In addition to the CHOPPED event during the evening, many of the members also attended Project Day that day. While at Project Day, the 4H members made body bar soap, bath bombs, laundry soap, string art, canned salsa, and did an electrical project lesson. Overall, it was a fun and great learning day for the 4-H members that were present.