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TMCNet:  Skagit's 'trashy' cuisine

[August 13, 2012]

Skagit's 'trashy' cuisine

Aug 12, 2012 (Skagit Valley Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- In most parts of the country Spam isn't considered a delicacy, and most people think SpaghettiOs and gelatin molds shouldn't mix. And a hot dog-stuffed Twinkie Some would consider that downright disgusting.

But at the White Trash Food Festival, hosted Saturday by Rexville Grocery near La Conner, classiness wasn't a goal. Contestants came from all over the county to enter their trashiest foods in a recipe contest, which was divided into three categories: appetizers, main courses and desserts.

The three judges fully embraced the competition, dressing up in costumes and sampling each food. Judge Chris McCarthy said the best part of the competition is people's enthusiasm.

Judges Tom Robbins, decked out in a Spam T-shirt and a Spam hat, and Dan Jensen have been judging the competition since it began 11 years ago. Jensen said he loves how the festival embraces self-deprecating humor.

"We have enough of the wine tastings and champagne out here," he said. "But sometimes that's not true to this county. We have to embrace the white trash." Festival attendees went wild for the caramelized Cheetos, which took the prize in the dessert category. Krista Sunday, who prepared the dish, said the recipe was the result of a life-long addiction to the cheesy snack.

"I've long been a fan of Cheetos," Sunday said. "They got me through college. And then I figured you can caramelize anything. So I decided I would make caramelized Cheetos, and I think they turned out pretty good." She also entered her no-stick peanut butter sandwiches in the competition, for which she used a simple recipe: spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and mayonnaise on the other. She said the mayonnaise stops the peanut butter from sticking to the roof of the eater's mouth.

The other winning dishes were Spam tempura for the appetizer category, and "Skagit River turtles" -- made of bacon, hamburger and hot dogs -- for the main course. Robbins joked about how unhealthy all of the prize-winning food was.

"The salt content of those turtles would turn the Skagit River into the Dead Sea," he said.

Sunday said she had such a good time at this year's festival that she will definitely be back next year.

"I'm going to be armed with some really fabulous new stuff," she said.

___ (c)2012 the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) Visit the Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.) at www.goskagit.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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