Irish Week concludes with empty bowls

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The empty bowls and scattered crumbs gave few clues as to which dishes had been judged best in the Irish Cooking Contest held at Troy State University Wednesday.

Every platter had been "licked" clean, indicating that every dish was someone's favorite.

The call to "come and get it" was issued after the judges have finished the envious task as choosing the best dishes in five categories. After scores of samplers "came and got it," there was nothing to do but whisk away the crumbs and await the judges' decisions.

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Dawn Railey, coordinator of the event, emerged from the conference room where the votes had been tallied, and there were some anxious moments as the winners' names were read.

One name, Gary Chinburg, was called over and over and the oven mitts began to pile up for the "cook of the day".

Chinburg's entries were judged the best overall for taste and presentation.

Not only were his dishes "tastefully" Irish, they were decorated in the Irish tradition with rainbows, leprechauns, pots of gold and even the Giant's Causeway made of chocolate covered marshmallows.

"I've always loved to cook," Chinburg said. "One of my grandmothers was Swedish and the other was Irish. I grew up watching them cook and I developed a love of cooking."

Chinburg said his cooking has an international flavor and the Irish Cooking Contest is a real challege.

"I couldn't decided which dish I wanted to prepare, so I just made one of each," he said.

And, he took home one prize for each.

In addition to the overall title, Chinburg took first place in breads, desserts and entrees and second place in vegetables and side dishes and salads and appetizers.

Betty Lilley won first place in vegetables and side dishes and Mary Ann Hooten took first place in salads and appetizers.

The HPER Club took second place honors in breads; Judy Stephens was the red ribbon winner in desserts and Maureic Smith placed second in entrees.

Railey expressed appreciation to all those who participated in the Irish Cooking Contest and congratulated them on dishes well done.

"The Irish Cooking Contest is gaining interest each year," she said. "This year the dishes were all exceptional. We thank the participants, the judges and everyone who worked to make the contest a success again this year."

The Irish Cooking Contest was a highlight of the St. Patrick's Day activities, which brought Irish Week at TSU to a festive close.

All across the campus, students, faulty members and staff donned the Irish green and greeted each other with "Top o' the morning to ya!"

In the Adams Center Ballroom, the Irish Bazaar attracted a crowd throughout the day. Items from jewelry and gourd purses to birdhouses and rabbits were on sale and vendors made lively chatter with shoppers.

Sam Sullivan, Allison Smith and Carrie Little loved the jewelry, the purses and everything that "smelled" good but their hearts were stolen by pink and blue bunnies.

"They are so cute," Smith said. "I wish I could take one home."

As the sun was dropping in the sky, the TSU Lagoon was a-buzz with activity as groups prepared to launch their home constructed Irish vessels.

The boats tipped, flipped and shot back up and tipped, flipped and sunk. When a lone boat was bobbing, the foghorn sounded an end to the Leprechaun Launch and the winners were declared.

The kindergarten classes of Newby and Chance were named the winner of the K-12 division with Heidi Collier and Olivia Bensinger in second place.

The TSU Phonathon Office won the college division and the HPER Club came in a close second.

The Phonathon Office also won the Irish Decorating Contest.

The Troy Group Home won the community division and the TSU Admissions Office was the winner of the faculty and staff division.

Railey was Irish Week was a great success from the opening Irish Carnival on March 12, through the St. Paddy's Day Parade to the Leprechaun Launch.

&uot;Irish Week is here to stay and people are beginning to realize that and more people are taking part in all the activities,&uot; she said. &uot;We are already looking forward to Irish Week 2005.&uot;