Insanity & a Winner

“Mothers are all slightly insane.” 
~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

It’s a full-time, over-worked Momma kind of week (and it’s only Tuesday);  volleyball practices, monitoring students during standardized tests at school, doctor’s appointments, passport issues, dishwasher broken, catching up on laundry, mow the grass, and jammin’ kind of week.

I live for this type of insanity!

I must admit jammin’ has been an enjoyable break from the stress of moving through life at warp speed.  It makes me long for a slower pace of life (just with modern conveniences).  The last two days I have made strawberry jam laced with vanilla (subtle, but so delicious!), and Vidalia (from Vidalia, Georgia) onion jam.  While I have been a sticky mess, the kids are thrilled to have the sweet and tart goodness of fresh strawberry jam on out table again.  I made biscuits for supper last night just so they had a reason to taste some of this springtime goodness.

But there are more important matters at hand than strawberry jam today….. the winner of my Lodge Cast Iron give-away …….

 I have notified her and hope to hear back soon.  Check out her recipes.  Everything looks fabulous!

I’ll post my strawberry jam recipe later this week.  I love making my own and look forward to berry season every year.  What you like to preserve?

Celebrating Cornbread & Lodge Cast Iron Giveaway

In South Pittsburg, Tennessee, a little town of 3000, cornbread is a big deal.  I know this from experience as I graduated high school right across the street from Lodge Manufacturing.

{You might have heard of them; they make cast iron skillets.}
Founded in 1896, Lodge is one of the United States oldest cookware companies.  Most off of their products are made right in that little town of South Pittsburg.  Nothing like buying local & American made!
Photo from Martha White via Facbook
Each year, for the last sixteen years, that little own of 3000 expands to over 25,000 as people from all over the Southeast come in to experience a little of that small town, made-in-the-USA goodness through the annual National Cornbread Festival.
Sponsored by Lodge and Martha White (also an American owned and operated company), the National Cornbread Festival has been featured in Southern Living, Taste of Home, The Food Network, PBS, and assorted newspapers all over the country.  The crafts, entertainment, food, and carnival are just a part of the fun, but the real focus of the festival  is the National Cornbread cook-off!
Hopeful competitors from all over the US send in recipes from which 100 are taste tested and ten are chosen for the actual live cook-off during festival weekend.
While watching the cook-off live is not as exciting as scripted television, it is quite interesting to watch these cooks prepare their recipes and send them off to be judged right before your eyes.

I like reality, not a scripted version, so I guess that’s why this appeals to me so much!

This year one of the judges was from our own blogging community, Christy Jordan from Southern Plate
Christy is just as warm and real in person as she is on her blog. 
Based on the description of some of the recipes entered in the cook-off this year, I would have gladly traded places with her, but only for tasting purposes.  I just saw the ingredients and smelled them baking, I couldn’t imagine having to taste them and pick a winner!  

I was amazed at the creative flavors that filled the cornmeal based dishes; peaches & cream sweet, Mediterranean, Caribbean, Mexican, Greek, Cajun and down-home dumplin’s.  
{It’s not your grandmother’s cornbread!}
Watching the competition was inspiring. Each contestant had to provide their ingredients and mixing pieces.  I like that; they can have what they are used to using at home on hand for competition which is sure to add a sense of comfort.  The only “requirements” of the cook-off are each recipe must contain at least one cup of Martha White (is there another brand?) cornmeal and must be cooked in Lodge cookware.  There were some well seasoned pieces on that stage.

When it was all said and done, Melanie McCoy from Knoxville, Tennessee placed first with her Sweet Cornbread Shrimp Cakes with Mango Salsa.
National Cornbread via Facebook 
You can find all of the recipes on The National Cornbread Facebook page.  They should be on the website soon as well.
When you have had your fill of cornbread, buttermilk chugging contests, live entertainment, and crafts, you can venture outside the boundaries of the festival for more fun.  For the last several years, Sister’s on the Fly have set up camp just behind the festival.  They are glamour camping at it most girly and so much fun to visit with.

And if you have traveled with the man in your life, there is plenty for him to do as well.  The classic car show “drive-in” at the historic Dixie Freeze will keep him occupied for hours.

The National Cornbread festival is held the last full weekend of April every year in gorgeous South Pittsburg, Tennessee (just 30 minutes West of CHattanooga).  Mark your calendar now for next year!
And now for the giveaway!
While at the festival this weekend, I brought back a couple of items for me, and to share.  

First is a National Cornbread Festival cookbook containing all of the winning recipes from the last 15 years of the festival, as well as some of the 4-H & celebrity cook-off winners.  
Second, I have a 6-inch Lodge cast iron skillet to giveaway and finally, Martha White cornbread and muffin mix.

You can earn up to three entries:

1) Leave a comment on my blog telling me how you like your cornbread, or the most creative thing you have made in your cast iron cookware.

2) Like Southern Table on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me that you did so.

3) Become a follower of Our Southern Table and also, let me know in a comment that you have.
I will leave the giveaway up through Saturday, 5 May.