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Beef #045; All in the Pearlstein family

Jessica and Stephen Pearlstein can proudly wear the title of Beef Ambassadors.

They both smiled and admitted they haven't the faintest idea what it means to be a Beef Ambassador. But, on the other hand, they probably know more about beef than any most youngsters and many adults.

Jessica and Stephen took top honors in the 4-H Club Regional Beef Ambassador Program in Andalusia Saturday. Jessica won first place and her brother Stephen won second place.

Tammy Powell, Pike County Extension coordinator, said Jessica and Stephen were outstanding in the regional competition.

"Our region includes all the counties in South Alabama so this was a great honor for both of our 4-H'ers," Powell said. "Jessica won first place in the county and Stephen was third, but he studied hard and practiced and took second place honors in the region."

The Beef Ambassador Program is a public speaking activity in which the 4-H'ers share their knowledge about the nutritional, economic and environmental values of beef or about beef as an agricultural product.

Jessica and Stephen are both beef lovers and suggested they inherited their taste for beef from their mother, Pam.

"Out mother grew up on a cattle farm in Jacksonville, Florida," Jessica said. "That may be why we like beef so much."

Or, it could be that beef tastes good and is filled with nutrition.

That's what Jessica said about beef in her speech.

"Beef has lots of vitamins and not a lot of fat," she said. "Compared to other foods like kidney beans, turkey and chicken, it's much better for you. Turkey is high in fat and chicken doesn't have as much vitamin B or riboflavin, so it's not as nutritious."

But, putting good nutrition aside, Jessica said she would still like a big, medium rare steak, right off the grill.

Stephen, on the other hand, would rather have a big, juicy burger.

"I like a hamburger with nothing but the meat, the bun and cheese - I guess that would be a cheeseburger," he said. "I don't want any condiments - no ketchup, mayonnaise or mustard. I just like the meat."

And, that's what Stephen said in his speech.

That and what great taste beef brings to tailgating.

"We tailgate at Troy State football games and we like hamburgers and steaks," Stephen said. "That's what most people grill, so I think most people like beef."

Not only do the sister and brother duo like eating beef, they also like cooking it.

They both entered the 4-H Beef Cookoff this year. Jessica won first place with her stuffed flank steak and Stephen came in fourth with a beef mystery dish, an indication that both Pearlsteins are as talented in the kitchen as they are behind the podium.

However,

neither plans a career as a chef.

"No, no!" they both laughed.

Jessica, a eighth grader at Covenant Christian High School, wants to be a cosmetologist, but Stephen is keeping all his options open.

"I've always liked to fix hair," Jessica said. "I fixed all my dolls' hair. I even cut it."

Even though the cuts looked very good on the dolls, Jessica lost her customers.

"Their hair didn't grow back," she said, laughing.

Stephen's a sixth grader at Covenant Christian, so he has plenty of time to decide what career path he will take. For now, he's more interested in playing his favorite sports -

basketball, baseball and soccer.

And, both sister and brother have plenty of time to fulfill their roles as Beef Ambassadors. Their primary duties will be to encourage everyone to "Eat More Beef" and eat more themselves.

"We can do that," they said, laughing.