United Way sponsors chili cookoff

Published 11:11 pm Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Pike County United Way has found a way to put bragging in the pot and bring the community together around the table at the same time.

The local United Way is sponsoring the first and, if it’s as much fun it can be, maybe, annual Chili Cook-off.

The time, date and place have been set – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 30, Pike County Cattleman Park. Now, all that is left is to get the cooks in the kitchen and let the cooking begin, said Tammy Powell, an event coordinator.

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“There are a lot of churches and organizations around Pike County that think their chili is the absolute best,” Powell said. “There are also a lot of individuals who thing their chili is the best there in the world. So, we’re saying, ‘If you think your chili is the best, then, come and prove it!’”

The Chili Cook-Off is a fundraiser for the Pike County United Way that serves 17 local agencies.

“It’s also a fun-raiser so we invite everyone to make plans to participate either as a entrant or a ‘judge,’” Powell said.

The rules and guidelines are few but to the point.

Each entry should be two to three gallons of chili and it must be cooked from scratch.

“What that means is that prepackaged mixes are not permitted and an ingredients list must be displayed with the chili because some people do have food allergies,” Powell said and added laughing that it also keeps the cooks honest, no holding out that special ingredient.

Beans, pasta, rice and so forth are approved ingredients for this chili competition.

“Some people say that chili is no more than flavored meat so we are allowing these ingredients, which are more popular in other parts of the country than here in the South,” Powell said.

Each entrant must furnish serving utensils, extra toppings, crackers and other condiments.

Chili cooks must furnish their own means of keeping the chili hot and extension cords are a must.

The entry fee is $25 and due along with the entry form by Aug. 22.

“This is a ‘taster’s choice’ competition and each person who would like to serve as a judge will pay one dollar at the door, receive a ticket and sample each entry,” Powell said. “A voting table will be set up with each ‘taster’ voting at the table by turning in his or her voting ticket. Tasters may vote more than once by purchasing more than one ticket.”

All agencies of the United Way will compete but outside organizations and individuals are encouraged to compete also.

“This is intended to be a fun, enjoyable competition,” Powell said. “Awards will be presented to the top three taster’s choice winners.”

To enter the Pike County United Way Chili Cook-Off, send your name, address, telephone number and $25 entry fee check made payable to the Pike County United Way to the Pike County United Way, P.O. Bo 204 Troy, AL 36081.

Entry forms may picked up an entry form at the Pike County Extension Office, South Three Notch Street; South Alabama Gas District Office, Walnut Street; or the Salvation Army Service Center and Thrift Store, South Brundidge Street; all in Troy or the American Red Cross office on S.A. Graham Blvd. in Brundidge. Forms may also be turned in at these locations.