By Allen Pierleoni
One place that takes cornbread very seriously is the town of South Pittsburg, Tenn., 30 miles west of Chattanooga. Each year it sponsors the National Cornbread Festival, a celebration that attracts 40,000 revelers over two days.
"We close the town and turn it into a street fair," said a festival spokeswoman.
In preparation for the 15th annual event over the weekend of April 30, the folks at the Loge Cast Iron and the Martha White baking-products companies once again are co-sponsoring a national cornbread cook-off.
You can enter an "original main-dish cornbread recipe" now through March 1. "Ten finalists will compete during the cornbread festival; one cook-off champion will receive a $5,000 cash prize," said a press release.
Here's how to enter:
"An entry must be an original main dish recipe prepared with at least one package of Martha White Cornbread Mix using Lodge (cast iron) cookware. Entries must include contestant's name, address, daytime phone number, date of birth and name of grocery retailer."
Note that the four Foods Co. stores in our area carry Martha White products. Loge cast iron pans are available at many cookware stores.
"To enter online, go to www.marthawhite.com, click on the 'Promotion and News' section, and submit your recipe along with contact information."
By email, send your recipe and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org. By snail mail, print the recipe and contact information on an 8-1/2 x 11-inch sheet of paper and mail it to National Cornbread Cook-Off 2011, 209 Seventh Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37219.
Note that the 10 finalists will make their dishes for "a panel of food experts" at the cornbread festival in Tennessee. To help get them to the site, the sponsors will give each finalist $500 toward travel expenses.
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.