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Pie takes top prize in annual cooking contest

Jerri Wallace of Brookhaven was more than surprised when hername was called as the grand prize winner of The DAILY LEADER’s27th Annual Wooden Spoon Cookbook Contest during a receptionThursday evening at The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.

“I just can’t believe it,” Wallace, a first-time finalist in thecompetition, said at the event.

Her “Caramel Pecan Pie,” submitted in the Desserts and Sweetscategory, was the judges’ favorite pick among over 170 recipesentered in this year’s contest. She got the recipe from a woman inNorth Mississippi who worked with her and brought the pie to aChristmas party. The winning recipe was raved over by the judgesfor its taste and presentation.

Wallace, who has served the pie for friends and family at manyfunctions, said it is always a hit.

“Every time I take this recipe somewhere, everybody just lovesit,” Wallace said about the dish. “They always ask me what’s init.”

Wallace is married to Sherill Wallace of Hazlehurst, and theyare the parents of Bobbie and Ted Dear. She enjoys baking andcooking during the holidays.

Wallace, who is employed with First Heritage Credit inHazlehurst, also beat four other finalists in the Desserts andSweets category.

As grand prize winner, Wallace received a $300 check from TheDAILY LEADER and a $50 cash prize for her category win.

All category winners received $50 prize money from The DAILYLEADER and gifts and gift certificates from area merchantsThursday.

Winners in other categories were as follows:

Category 1 – Appetizers:

Sheila Day is the first place winner in this category with her”Vegetable Cheesecake” recipe. Other finalists in the Appetizercategory were Suzanne Sandifer for “Soo Soo’s Pickled Shrimp”;Becky Feduccia for “Hot Artichoke and Spinach Dip”; Zenus Owens for”Southwestern Seafood Egg Rolls”; and Jackie Powell for “CrayfishBowl.”

Category 2 – Soups, Salads, Fruits: Category winner is is MarieBilbo for “Grape Salad.” Other finalists in Category 2 were DebbieMyers Smith for “Shrimp and Crawfish Chowder;” Sheila Day for”Honey Chicken Salad;” Rita Watts for “Chicken Tortilla Soup” andZenus Owens for “Green Beans Diablo.”

Category 3 – Main Dish: Winner of the Main Dish Category is JaneLeary with her delicious “Catfish Fillets with Crawfish Sauce.”Other finalists in the Main Dish Category include “Chicken andPecan Pastry Pie” entered by Rebecca Hill; “Dinner in a Pumpkin”entered by Marie Bilbo; “BBQ Peanut Butter Chicken” entered byMyrtle Crossley and “Pork Tenderloin with Honey Pecan Crust”entered by Sheila Day.

Category 4 – Vegetables:

Sheila Day is the winner of Category 4 with her “Hot Corn.”

Other finalists in the Vegetable category were Jackie Powellwith her “Tomato Tart;” Terry Leary with his “Asparagus Casserole;”Eleanor Ford with her “Roasted Vegetables” and Zenus Owens with his”Spinach Madeline.”

Category 5 – Desserts and Sweets: Grand prize winner JerriWallace’s “Caramel Pecan Pie” was first place in Category 5.

Other finalists in the category were Janice Wilson with “PeachPound Cake;” Sue Junkin with “A Trifle Pretentious;” Sheila Daywith “Strawberries in White Chocolate Sauce” and Mrs. Elbert Boytewith “Old-Fashioned Egg Custard.” Junkin’s “A Trifle Pretentious,”her own original recipe, was so delicious that it was also chosenas the winner of the annual “Chucky” Award, which is named forformer Publisher Chuck Jacobs.

Category 6 – Breads and Rolls:

Anna Hartgraves won Category 6 with her “Yeast Biscuits.” Theother finalists in Category 6 were Zenus Owens with”Star-of-the-East Fruit Bread” and Debbie Bowman with “CajunCornbread.”

Category 7 – For Your Health: Winner is Opal W. Smith with her”Bueno Black Beans and Rice.” Other finalists are Cecelia B.Daughdrill with “Cheese Cake” and Melba Johnson with “Carrot-CheeseRing.”

Category 8 – Kids Kuisine: Two youths tied as top winners in theKids Cuisine category for participants 16 and under. Amanda Blair,15, won for her “Magic Cookie Bars,” and three-and-a-half-year-oldKatelyn Bergeron for her “Katelyn’s Cup Cobbler.”

Category 9- Employees: This year the winner of the category isJimmie Gayle Cain with “Crispy Pecan-Crusted Chicken.” Cain, who ismarried to Michael, is the mother of two children, Lydia andJustin. She is an advertising representative for The DAILYLEADER.