For most families, the only competition that occurs today is on the gridiron.  Not so for the Cirks’ clan.  For the past 7 years, the siblings and siblings-in-laws have tried to best each other to win the coveted ceramic turkey award for the best entry in the family cooking competition.

Each year, a different category is designated and a rubric developed for judging.  Last year, a dessert had to include instant mashed potatoes, pomegranate, cottage cheese and chocolate.  This year, contestants will display their candy or cookies and be scored on the following: representative of Thanksgiving, taste, creativity, appearance.  Even the family members who are unable to attend are expected to participate via Skype.

Two bonus points are allowed, so grandiose presentations usually accompany the dish.  Last year, the winner built a fire so others could roast homemade marshmallows as part of the dessert.  I believe Tom Turkey himself may be making a presentation this year.

The traveling turkey must be be displayed prominently in the winner’s home during the year.  It comes with a host of bragging rights and a gold marker to permanently record the name of the champion.

The cooking competition has become an important tradition and a highlight of the holiday.  How can you use this as an example to create something special for your family or organization?  For essentially no cost, you can infuse spirit, laughter and get the creative juices flowing.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

— beth triplett

Thanks to Julie for sharing the tradition and the samples!

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