WL girl hopes sandwich creation sticks in contest

Published 6:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

A young Lincoln County culinary artist is competing with nineother children nationwide for the chance to have her collegeeducation paid for, and she needs the online support of her fellowcounty residents.

Emily Goss, a 9-year-old West Lincoln Attendance Center student,is one of the Top 10 finalists in the Jif Most Creative PeanutButter Sandwich Contest and the only representative fromMississippi. If she makes the Top Five, she wins the opportunity togo to New York and pit her sandwich against four others for thechance to win a $25,000 scholarship to the college of herchoice.

To view and vote for Goss’s creation, people may visitwww.jif.com and click on the contest banner in the middle of thescreen. Voting ends Friday at midnight, so time is of theessence.

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“People should vote for me because my sandwich is creepy anddelicious,” Goss said.

Goss’s creepy and delicious peanut butter sandwich is called,appropriately, the “Creepy Delicious Peanut Butter and JamSandwich,” a circular sandwich spruced up with pretzel sticks,grapes and chocolate chips in the shape of a spider, complete witheight jointed legs, two big eyeballs and a chocolaty, hairyback.

A creepy crawly creation seems strange for a 9-year-old girl,but it’s just a continuance of everyday life for Goss, who checksthe dark corners for wildlife daily and loves her science coursesat West Lincoln.

“I like spiders and lizards,” she said, holding a recentlycapture lizard in a Mason jar. “They’re weird and cool. Most girlsdon’t like them – my friends kind of freak out. But I like to catchthem because they’re so fast, it’s really fun.”

Goss said she considered creating a roach-shaped sandwich forthe Jif contest, but her mother Rita Goss would likely have gonethe way of her friends and “freaked out.” It was actually thepursuit of a pastime for mother and daughter that didn’t involveinsects and reptiles that brought the Goss family into thecontest.

“They were sitting around one day saying, ‘What are we gonnado?'” said Ken Goss, Emily’s father. “I was going through somecoupons on the counter when I saw the Jif contest. I held it up andsaid, ‘Y’all can do this!'”

And so it began. Emily Goss said she built the spider sandwichone step at a time, visualizing its final form in her mind. She andher parents used the lid from a jar of peanut butter to cut out thespider’s round body and impaled two white grapes on pretzel sticksto secure them to the sandwich

“That idea just came to me because sometimes, in comic books,spiders look googely-eyed,” she said.

The hardest part of the creation, Emily Goss said, is thespider’s eight legs, which require 16 pretzel sticks.

She trims the sticks to the appropriate length and dips them ina peanut butter/jam mix to make them stick. After the sandwich sitsa few minutes, the legs will stick fast and remain in thesandwich.

Interestingly, Goss’s sandwich is one of few Top 10 finaliststhat is actually a sandwich – some of the other PB and J disheshave not held true to the contest rules. Goss hopes that gives heran edge in competition, but she thinks the weirdness of hercreation gives her a boost as well.

“I’d say mine is more of a guy thing, but it’s made by a girl,”she said. “I think that throws them off a little.”

If Goss’s creepy sandwich makes the Top Five, she will leave forNew York City, where she will be required to recreate her sandwichfor a panel of judges.

Just making the top group would guarantee her $2,500 and a giftbasket. But mom and dad – who have already begun saving for theirdaughter’s college education nine years from now – are hoping andpraying for the college money.

“Any help you get is always great – you never know what thecosts are going to be,” said Rita Goss. “Can you imagine being 9years old and having your college paid for?”

Emily Goss seems to be her parents’ dream come true on the issueof selecting a college if she comes back to Mississippi with a$25,000 scholarship.

“Wherever the check says!” she said of her college of choice. “Ilike the [Mississippi State University] Bulldogs. Since I handleanimals, I’d like to be a wildlife expert.”