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4-H sponsors cooking competition for school-age kids

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Who doesn't like food?

That question prompted Collin County's Extension Agents to challenge teams of 4-H members to create a dish using a predetermined set of ingredients and a limited pantry.

Almost 40 school-age kids showed up for the Food Challenge on Feb. 17 in Farmersville, getting hands-on experience in preparing nutritious (and safe) meals and snacks instead of junk food. The idea was to help them adopt healthy eating habits that help reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Team members had to identify and prepare a dish, then make a presentation to judges. Scoring was based on preparation, nutritional knowledge, and presentation. And, like one popular cooking show, they had only 40 minutes to create their dish, followed by a 20-minute presentation to judges.

County Extension Agent Amanda Parks, who handles 4-H Youth Development, says the competition was divided into three age groups, Juniors (grades 3-5), Intermediates (grades 6-8) and Seniors (grades 9-12). In small teams of three and four, the Juniors whipped up different takes on scrambled eggs, while the older groups took on main entrees featuring seared chicken or pork chops. Team names included the Salmonella Slayers, The IncrEDIBLES, Royal Chefs, 

The recipe for the competition was to fold teamwork, public speaking, and leadership skills into safe food preparation and balanced nutrition.

Have a child in Grades 3 through 12?  Think about introducing them to the 4-H team. For more information contact Amanda Parks, or call the Collin County AgriLife Extension Office at 972-548-4232.

The extension agents are located in the Collin County Health Care Building on the north side, 825 N. McDonald Street, Suite 150, McKinney. Stop in and see them to learn about all the things 4-H has to offer.