EATON — The Famous Preble County Fair featured the annual 4-H Cook Off and Mystery Mixer on Tuesday, July 31.
The winners then had the opportunity to sell their projects at a Baked Goods Auction on Thursday, Aug. 2.
According to Adult Volunteer Sharon Hicks, the competitions are broken into age groups, from beginner to advanced. They begin with the older kids, so the newer participants have an opportunity to watch and learn before even beginning.
The day begins with the cook off, where the kids prepare one recipe and bring everything they need to cook it. With the crowd watching, they prepare the dish, getting judged on their technique and the taste of the product. Next, the Mystery Mixer begins, where the participants do not know what recipe they will be preparing — but they bring a list of ingredients and tools to prepare the mystery product.
“They are judged on how they prepare the food, skills, if they wash their hands, if they do it step by step or ingredients, time management, and stuff like that,” Hicks said. “These competitions teach the kids responsibility, how to cook, how to work under stress, and other life skills. I wish more kids would come do this, because it teaches them how to cook and how to compete a little bit.
“The Mystery Mixer is for 4-H members who don’t have a food project. I like watching the kids and seeing how much they mature each year. I’ve seen some since they were little and you see how much confidence they have. This competition teaches them confidence and helps them be confident. They’re watched by judges constantly, so they know they have eyes on them, but they also know that if they mess up, they can learn and improve next year.
“The top two winners have a grand champion and reserve, they will be able to come to the auction and make what they made to auction it off. The cook off and mystery mixer winners have the opportunity to auction off their products. The kids make money from this. The auction isn’t as well attended as it should be, I wish more people would get involved. We feel like since some of the kids don’t have animals, they deserve an opportunity to sell and make a little money.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH