Cheesecake wins seniors/snowbird competition

January 31, 2002|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — A jovial group of senior citizens gathered in the Civic Center here for the seniors/snowbirds cooking contest Wednesday afternoon.

Sylvia Nelson, co-chairman of the Carrot Festival Cooking Contest, asked those present to give a little information about themselves.

Many Canadians from various walks of life were among those present. Some have been coming to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management campground east of Holtville for nearly 20 years.

Yvonne Huddleston of Great Falls, Mont., is known at the BLM grounds as the "Carrot Festival Pusher." Huddleston talks people into competing in the Carrot Festival cooking contests. She even finds recipes for others if necessary.

Marina Williams of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was one of those talked into entering by Huddleston.

"I used a recipe that called for pumpkin and changed it to carrots," Williams said. "I took the dish to the ‘American Thanksgiving' we celebrated in the desert, and Yvonne said, ‘That's a winner.'"


Huddleston's words were prophetic. Marina took first place in Tuesday's contest with "Creamy Carrot Cheesecake." Huddleston is retired from her job as the accountant for fish and wildlife licensing for all of Alberta. She said she and her husband, Harold, love to come to the Imperial Valley.

"He can't wait to come here right after our Thanksgiving in October," Marina said. "We have a grand life."

The second-place finisher was Myrl Chambers, 87, with "Carnival Carrot Cake." A Holtville resident and first-time entrant, Chambers said she was a "reluctant" competitor.

"My daughter-in-law, Ruth Chambers, talked me into competing," Chambers said.

Chambers and her husband, Delbert, recently celebrated their 65th anniversary.

The third-place finisher, Huddleston, is a veteran cook and former winner of the contest. Her cool, light "Tropical Orange Jello Salad" was a treat for the tasters.

Angie Burgess of Twin Falls, Idaho, earned honorable mention with "Bean & Sausage Carrot Soup." Bear meat was used in her sausage. The bear was shot by her daughter, Vikki Burgess.

Judges were Madge Widmann, Dina Sanders and Harold Burnworth. Winners received ribbons, cash and plaques made by Danna Banana's Crafts.

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