Shelby County students win for beef, peanuts

Beef and peanuts will send two Shelby County students to Montgomery to compete for prize money early next year.

The Beef and Peanut Cook-offs were held last week at Oak Mountain High School.

The winners of each event will represent Shelby County at statewide competitions.

Sponsors for the Senior High Beef Cook-off include the Alabama Cattlewomen’s Association and Alabama Beef Producers through their Beef Check-Off Program.

The Peanut Cook-off is sponsored by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the Alabama Association Future Homemakers of America.

Seventeen-year-old Ashley Porter of Calera High School won the Beef Cook-off with her dish, &uot;Sante Fe Steak with Fruit Salsa.&uot;

She describes her recipe as a &uot;Mexican-type dish.&uot;

&uot;I love to cook,&uot; Porter said. &uot;I cook for my family every night.&uot;

Amy Dryden, 13, of Oak Mountain Middle School won the peanut recipe event with her &uot;Thai Chicken Stir Fry.&uot;

Unlike Porter, Dryden said that cooking is a venture she has just recently discovered.

&uot;This is something completely new for me,&uot; she said.

Dryden said her &uot;Chinese-type dish&uot; was adapted from a recipe she found in one of her mother’s recipe books.

Judges for the event included representatives from the University of Montevallo, the Art Institute of Atlanta and Southern Progress.

The beef dishes were judged according to taste, ease of preparation, nutritive value and appearance. Peanut dishes were judged for flavor, texture and appearance.

&uot;Peanut critters&uot; were just one of the many creative exhibits the judes evaluated.

&uot;We encourage them to be creative with their recipes,&uot; said Nancy Simmer of the American Cattlewomen’s Association. &uot;We want it to be fun and educational.&uot;

Simmer said the grand prize winner of the state beef cook-off will receive $350 with a microwave oven and additional $100 awarded to the winner’s consumer science class.

Porter will compete in that event on Jan. 25.

Dryden could win up to $200 and a plaque if her dish takes first place at the Peanut Recipe STAR state competition on April 11-12.

Kristy Wheeler, of Oak Mountain High School’s Family and Consumer Science Department, organized the event with help from student members of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).

Wheeler said 12 Shelby County schools particpated in the event, now in its third year.

It will be held again next year at Oak Mountain High School