Top cooks from around the state brought their best sweet breads to Montgomery Sept. 1 for the 41st Heritage Cooking Contest.
Cherokee County’s Shirley Lumsden won first place and $150 for her Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread in the competition sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Division.
Montgomery County’s Amy Belcher won second place and $100 for Cranberry Pecan Bread, and Russell County’s Bonnie Martin won third place and $50 for Lemon Poppy Seed Bread with Lemon Topping.
“I couldn’t believe it when they called out my name as the winner,” said Lumsden, who admits she’s best known around home for her Red Velvet Cake. “This was a recipe I got online, but I tweaked it a little to make it my own by adding toasted pecans as a topping and using fresh strawberries as garnish. I tried a couple of other recipes before I settled on this one.”
More than 30 county winners advanced to the state finals at the Federation home office in Montgomery.
“There are some great cooks here, and it’s still hard for me to believe I won,” said Lumsden, who, along with husband Billy, raises beef cattle in Sand Rock. Billy is a Cherokee County Farmers Federation director.
Federation Women’s Leadership Director Kim Ramsey said the Heritage Cooking Contest celebrates the art of cooking and fellowship.
“Everyone loves good food and friends, and this contest lets us celebrate both,” Ramsey said. “Our organization has some of the best cooks anywhere, so winning a contest like this is truly an honor. Our judges had a hard time choosing a winner.”
While judges were busy sampling each entry and scoring it on taste, interest, appearance and ease of preparation, contestants and attendees were entertained by cookbook author and food blogger Stacey Little of Prattville. His website, SouthernBite.com, features delicious Southern recipes and cooking tips.