A few weeks ago, Will competed in the county 4-H Food Show and placed first (woo hoo) and earned a spot to represent Travis County at the District 4-H Food Show yesterday in San Marcos. He had 10 other competitors in his category, breads and cereals. Many of them chose quick breads, but I think Will may have been the only one to attempt a yeast bread. It definitely took more skill and he worked very hard on learning facts about his food. He made his bread Thursday night and we were all too willing to give it a taste test during Friday evening’s meal! He made Rosemary Foccacia Bread – one can never go wrong with a good Southern Living recipe. He said he liked kneading the dough because he could work out his frustrations. HA! My grandmother always told me if I had an argument with someone I should go make a good yeast bread – I get to punch it and knead it and no one gets hurt. While you wait for it rise, you can spend some time in prayer thinking about how you could handle things differently. She was right. And I digress.
Saturday’s show was held on the campus of Texas State – boy, has that place grown since I was there last. Will was the next to last entrant to meet the judges. The waiting was tough, but he did a great job. He was asked about the preparation steps, main nutrients in his bread and their function, a key ingredient and its purpose, any healthy ingredient substitutions he could make, the difference between “my plate” and “my pyramid”, food safety and something he learned through his food / nutrition project. All under five minutes.
I’m happy and very proud to say he earned a third place finish! Last year, he placed fourth at district in main dish. I love to see improvement in both knowledge and skills and Will did both this year. Next year, he says he’s going to tackle fruits and vegetables. Yum. Just before they announced the top five finishers in each category, the participants were asked to introduce themselves by name and county.
I do have a few parting words about 4-H. For my big city friends, you might be thinking, “Oh, 4-H is only for country kids.” You. Are. Wrong. No matter your county, you have at least one county extension agent and usually one dedicated to 4-H. It’s nearly free to participate. Our participation fee for the entire year is $20. And, sometimes there are small fees associated with contests. For Food Show, we paid $5. Yes, $5. There are many things to love about 4-H, but I’m mostly impressed with how they approach teaching your children life skills in a variety of different areas. In just about every area, 4-Hers learn public speaking, positive self-esteem, planning, preparation, budgeting and problem solving. Categories range from food/nutrition to housing/home environment, photography, animals, public speaking, fashion merchandising and more. If you can dream up the project, I can guarantee 4-H has a project category for it. If you ever want to know more, call me.
4-H provided me opportunities to earn scholarships – over half my college education was paid for because of my 9-year 4-H career. The life skills I learned at age 16 some people don’t have at 45. It was a tremendous gift, and at times a sacrifice, from my parents. But, it changed my life’s direction. I walked onto the campus at Texas A&M with friends from all over the state. We’d been competing with each other for years.
Will’s next project will be the consumer decision making project in February. You’re given a scenario and four different products. You must rank them in order of best purchase to worst and then qualify your answers in front of a judging panel. Shopping! Talking! Just this mom’s bag 🙂