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Published: Sunday, 6/20/2004

Recipe contests are winners with home cooks

Recipe contests have become a part of Americana. As millions of Americans participate in local, regional, and national competitions and food festivals every year, some win blue ribbons, many have gift prizes, and a few are the big-dollar winners. Many of the recipes end up in cookbooks.

Red, White & Blue Ribbon 2004: Winning Recipes from the Past Year's Top Recipe Contests & Food Festivals by Melissa Craven & Jordan Salcito (3D Press, $18.95) is a collection of winners from more than 175 of these contests nationwide.

Among the recipes are Seared Duck Breasts with Cherry Salsa & Dried Cherry Polenta from the Northwestern Michigan College Culinary Arts' National Cherry Festival Taste of Cherries Recipe Contest; South Pacific Steaks from the 2003 National Beef Cook-Off, and Red, White & Blue Cheesecake from the 2003 Poteet Strawberry Festival in Poteet, Tex.

The appendix lists more than 100 sources for recipe contests with Web sites, phone numbers, and addresses.

Among the upcoming recipe contests are:

  • Sixth annual "Rice to the Rescue!" recipe contest sponsored by the USA Rice Federation seeks innovative, easy, original, and unpublished rice recipes. One amateur cook will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize and a nine-piece set of All-Clad cookware for the most innovative rice recipe. Five finalists will earn $1,000 each along with cookware. For contest rules, visit www.usarice.com/consumer/rescue2004. Deadline for entries is July 16.

  • The National Pork Board is asking Americans to share a favorite pork recipe that they make without a recipe. Your "No Recipe" recipe must include one pork product and consist of no more than five ingredients in addition to the pork. Preparation and cooking time must not exceed 40 minutes. Grand prize winner will receive access to a personal food shopper/assistant for one-month plus $1,000. Log onto www.otherwhitemeat.com and send your entry to "No Recipe" Recipe Contest. Deadline is June 30.

  • The National Oyster Cook-Off is held with the St. Mary's County (Md.) Oyster Festival. Cash prizes of $300, $200, and $150 are awarded for three finalists in three categories: hors d'oeuvres, soups and stews, and main dish. For official rules, e-mail goinsam@mda.state.md.us. Deadline for entries is Aug. 2.

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    Researchers at the American Institute For Cancer are concerned that as Americans cut back on fat in the diet, their diets are overloaded with omega-6 fats and deficient in omega-3 fats, a state that has been linked to increased cancer risk.

    Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean. They are used in processed snacks, baked products, and commercial salad dressing.

    Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish like salmon, sardines, trout, and herring. Smaller amounts are found in canola oil, flaxseed, green leafy vegetables, and walnuts. Omega-3 fats have been associated with lower cancer risk in population studies.

    The ratio of omega-6s to omega-3 in the current American diet has been measured as high as 15:1, according to Melanie Polk of the AICR. In countries consuming a traditional plant-based diet, the ratio is closer to 4:1 or 2:1. When the consumption of omega-6 fat to omega-3 fat is so out of proportion, we cut ourselves off from the protective benefits that omega-3s provide, she says.

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    In June, McDonald's is rolling out a new version of its Happy Meals for kids which includes the introduction of McDonald Milk Jugs - 8-ounce single-serve milk in plastic bottles in chocolate and white, according to the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council Mid East.



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