Choctaw County’s Anne Lanier brought home the bacon and $150 by winning the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Heritage Cooking Contest in Montgomery Sept. 6.

Her Bacon Pimento Cheese Bites were among 34 dishes prepared by contestants who previously won their county contests, qualifying them for the state competition hosted by the Federation Women’s Leadership Division. Entries were required to have bacon as one of the top three ingredients.

“I’ve never entered any kind of cooking contest before,” Lanier said. “I was really, really surprised. I enjoyed seeing the various presentations and how creative these ladies were with bacon.”

Lanier’s winning recipe featured filo shells filled with pimento cheese, topped with Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze and crowned with bacon. She describes the flavor as cheesy with a sweet, spicy, salty, bacon taste. She said her recipe is an adaptation of a casserole she tried months ago, adding that finding a recipe where bacon was among the top three ingredients was a challenge.

Food and family are important to Lanier and her husband John, who have two daughters and five grandchildren.

“It seems like our family gatherings always revolve around food,” Lanier said. “We still live on the family farm in Jachin, and we enjoy cooking and eating together.”

Coosa County’s Pinky Reichert won second place and $100 for her Mini BLTs. Monroe County’s Dora Rider placed third and received $50 for her Sweet and Savory Bacon Crackers.

Women’s Leadership Division Director Kim Earwood said the annual Heritage Cooking Contest helps spotlight food produced by Alabama farmers. Bacon appetizers are a great way to share delicious recipes for football tailgating activities, fall family events and holidays, she noted.

“There were lots of delicious recipes shared,” Earwood said. Bacon can be the star of almost any dish.”

About 120 attendees sampled savory bacon dishes and listened to Martha Hawkins, founder of Martha’s Place, a Montgomery restaurant and catering service where she serves up food that nourishes the body and soul.

Download recipes here.