Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

NENA’s Annual Crockpot Cook Off is a winner for the neighborhood

Posted on 26 March 2018 by calvin

Nokomis East Neighborhood’s 2nd Annual Great Nokomis East Crock-Pot Cook Off almost didn’t happen. Originally scheduled for Feb. 24, two back-to-back 6-inch snowfalls caused the sponsoring neighborhood association to reschedule the event for Mar. 10.

There had been flyers available at local businesses but the new day meant that many who would have wanted to attend, couldn’t. Or at least, that’s what the organizers thought.

But, within 15 minutes of opening the doors, the basement of the Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church was starting to fill up with hungry locals. Despite a chilly evening, neighbors came to mingle, a way to cure cabin fever. This year brought in more people than last year and, it is hoped that by next winter’s event, the word will spread to even more.

Photo right: Beth Esposito earned the grand prize with her creamy ‘Come to the Light Side Chicken and Dumplings.’ (Photo by Stephanie Fox)

The contest is a fundraising event with proceeds going to help support NENA’s local initiatives, such as the Bossen Renters Fair, a community block party scheduled for July.

This year’s Crock-Pot Cook Off brought in $520, an increase of $120 from last year’s event. Contestants paid a $10 entry fee and event tickets, $15 for adults and $5 for children, gave attendees a chance to taste all the offerings and to vote for their favorites. The winner received a trophy and congratulations.

The best thing about the contest, said Becky Timm, NENA’s Executive Director, is getting the chance to talk with neighbors. “At some events, you sit at a table with the people you came with, but here, people get up and go to the crock-pot stations. You can have a one-on-one conversation and interact with everyone.”

In addition to the contest, a rock combo ‘My Cousin Dallas,’ was there to entertain the crowd.

Like last year, there were eight contestants bringing selections, some traditional and others, more exotic. This year, for the first time, there were also two dessert offerings.

After allowing an hour for tasters to try all of the dishes, NENA’s Executive Director Becky Timm and sponsor Larry Ouellette, from Bridge Realty and member of the NENA Board of Directors, retired to the church kitchen to count the votes.

This year’s winner was Beth Esposito, whose creamy ‘Come to the Light Side Chicken and Dumplings’ won the top prize. Laura Messman and Pat Wehr won 2nd place with a ‘Hot Tot Breakfast,’ a mélange of tater tots and eggs. And, Carrie Anderson who recreated ‘Grandma’s Grape Jelly Meatballs with a Kick’, took 3rd place with her sweet and sour beef and elk meatballs.

Members of the NENA board had their own unofficial competition, with Karla Arredondo’s Crazy Bread getting the most votes.

Other fundraising events are in the planning stages as well, including an October happening, with details to be released later this year.

Photo below: Contestants in the 2nd Annual Crockpot Contest were (front l to r) Beth Esposito, Laura Messman, Carrie Andersen, Jerome Evans, Lauren Hazenson and (back) Karla Arredondo, Becky Timm, Pat Wehr, Reed Mitchell. (Photo by Stephanie Fox)

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