Ainsworth wins top cookbook prize

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 18, 2007

Cooks from around the area gathered Thursday evening at theEpiscopal Church of the Redeemer Cannon Hall to await the highlyanticipated naming of this year’s grand prize winner in the WoodenSpoon Cookbook contest.

This year’s winning recipe was for “Stuffed Pork Loin WithCrawfish Stuffing” and was submitted in the Main Dish Category byChad Ainsworth, of Wesson.

“I’m so surprised I won,” Ainsworth said. “I can’t believeit.”

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Ainsworth said he will probably use his $300 grand prize to paya few bills and maybe get himself something for Father’s Day.

The first-time winner in the Wooden Spoon Cookbook contest saidhe got his recipe from the Food Network and reworked it to suit histastes. It can be cooked either on the grill or in the oven.

“The recipe is so easy to make,” Ainsworth said.

His secret is to use Jiffy Corn Mix for the stuffing, whichgives it a sweet taste. He said because the rules said to omitbrand names in the recipes he didn’t specifically name the mix.

The recipe can be found on page 10 of the cookbook, which isinserted into today’s newspaper.

Ainsworth is married Keli and they have three sons, Justin,Ethan and Orin. He is employed as a surveyor with the MississippiDepartment of Transportation.

In its 30th year, the cookbook is big hit with cooks around theregion. It contains ingredients and recipes for eight differentcategories.

Each category winner and finalist received a certificate. Thecategory winner also received a check for $50. Everyone present forthe ceremony also drew for door prizes that were donated by areamerchants.

Winning in the Appetizer Category was Tammy Price for herrecipe, “Ham Puffs.” The recipe is a combination of ham, onion,cheddar cheese and canned biscuits. It’s simple and easy to makeand was a hit with judges.

Winning in the Soups, Salads and Fruits was multi-finalistJackie Powell with “Creamy Garden Spaghetti.” Her recipe is perfectfor the summer months and combines broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms,carrots, onion and spaghetti noodles. It can be served cold orhot.

Ainsworth’s “Stuffed Pork Loin” won in the Main Dish Category.His recipe is a combination of crawfish tails, bacon, onion, bellpepper, celery and cornbread, all stuffed into a pork loin.

Jennifer Dearman’s win was a big surprise to her. Hergrandmother’s recipe of “Squash Casserole” was the winner in theVegetable Category. The addition of ground beef to her recipe makesa simple casserole a hearty dish.

Winning for the second year in a row in the Desserts and SweetsCategory was Carrie Smith. Her winning recipe of “Magic MarshmallowCrescent Puffs” was an instant favorite with judges. Theeasy-to-make recipe is made with crescent rolls andmarshmallows.

The Breads and Rolls Category was won by Becky Feduccia. Shesaid the secret to the moistness in her “Pecan Coffee Cake” is theaddition of sour cream to the recipe. Feduccia has been a finalistmany times in the past.

Our newest category, 30-Minute Meals was a big hit with judges.Winning the category was Jackie Powell with her rendition of”Shrimp and Grits.” Her colorful presentation of this dish alsomade it this year’s main photograph for the front cover of thecookbook.

Winning in the Employee Category was The DAILY LEADER’s OfficeManager Theresa Milholen with her appetizer dish of “Hot BaconDip.” It was an early favorite of judges and a crowd favorite atchurch functions, said Milholen.

The surprised winner of The Chucky Award was desserts and sweetsfinalist Barbara Way. Her “Caramel Sundae Pie” was chosen by formerpublisher Charles R. Jacobs, for whom the award is named. Therecipe is a mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk,coconut, pecans and caramel.