Aspic “The Winner” At the CHS Community Cook-Off

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cookoff4cookoff7The things about life is, it is always full of surprises. And that’s how tomato aspic ended up winning the Ct Historical Society’s Community Cook-Off Friday night.

I am not a fan of radishes or peppers, and remember that movie “Julie and Julia” with Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, and Powell her way through the famed French cookbook? The aspic chapter was so less than appealing, even though I had never tasted aspic.

But when asked to judge the winners in each of four category and proclaim the grand winner, I had to taste all four no matter what.  Try as I did to lean toward the creamy “Bazaar Chicken Pie” and the wine-laced  “Aunt Barbara’s Bad Day Brownies,” I just couldn’t. The raw vegetable studded tomato aspic, in the “I Didn’t Know You Could Make That From Jello” category, had me at hello.

Its creator, Hartford resident Kat Lyons, was crowned  the winner in the cook-off. The event featured  dozens of entries in four categories and a room full of people who not only turned out for the competition but the exhibit that prompted the contest, “Cooking by the Book: Amelia Simmons to Martha  Stewart.”

Besides the good food, the fun part of the cook-off was the stories behind the entries, especially in the “From Grandma’s Kitchen” category.

cookoff3For the Bue family, it was the place to remember former West Hartford resident, Annabelle Godard, and her dessert recipes.

Godard’s daughter, Carla Bue, entered her grandmother’s “Kiss Pie” while Bru’s daughter, Catherine Bue, entered her great-grandmother’s vanilla cupcakes.

“She was a great cook,” said Bue, who lives in West Hartford.

cookoff2For Connecticut Valley Garden Club member, Barbara Kiefer, it was a vintage recipe from her grandmother, Lily Harvard, that was entered in the show, a “from scratch” butterscotch pie.

“The butterscotch pudding and the crust, all from scratch,” reported Kiefer noting that because of all the real ingredients, the pie looked a little more “natural” than the kinds you buy in stores or make from packaged or pre-made ingredients.

And will there be many more of such lovingly made pies in her future?

“Oh no,” said Kiefer, who many known from the garden club’s annual “Set To Celebrate Tablescape” soriee each November. “The crust is pure lard, not Crisco, but pure lard.”

For more photos of the event go  here.

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