The first time I entered the "PBO" (as us cooking competitors call it) was back around 1992 or 1994. That was before computers were a household appliance. I snail-mailed in a crab appetizer. When the grocery store booklet of finalists came out, I noticed one of the recipes was only two ingredients different than mine. That's when it hit me that I was really close, but not close enough. Maybe someday.
In 2007, when I began entering cooking contests, there were so many contests to enter, I really wasn't that invested in "THE BIG ONE". A million dollars seemed out of reach, but a salad bowl and a cookbook seemed reasonable.
Well this it, PBO is the big one, and this year, I tried really hard. I'm dreaming of that chance at a million dollars, but somehow it's not about winning money, it's more about coming full circle in my passion. When I can say "I went to the Pillsbury Bake-Off," I will know I've achieved greatness in this cooking contest hobby. It's an honor just to be selected as a finalist. I submitted 14 recipes, although in retrospect, I see only about half are worthy of the crown, or at least a walk down the runway. So let's just say I have 7 chances.
The contest has changed up a bit. 90 finalists will be notified in September, but for now there are 20 tentative finalists who must compete in on-line voting.
I'm ecstatic to hear my friend Linda Bibbo received the email. Her recipe is up for voting soon. However, we don't know what the recipe is, that's top secret information. Ironically, this is the second time she has been selected for the "You Be The Judge" voting segment. Most of us dream of getting that email or call, but we hope we are one of the 90 guaranteed spots, not the "maybe if you're recipe is popular" spots. So my fingers are crossed for Linda and the rest of my CCC friends. Here is what getting that email looks like:
Contest officials have confirmed that your recipe will be placed online at www.bakeoff.com for consumer voting in the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest. Congratulations on moving one step closer to a chance at the million-dollar grand prize!
On-line voting is something most of us CCC'ers despise. Only 10 of the 20 voting round people will make it to the dream kitchen. Yes, every cooking competitors "dream kitchen" is actually located in some convention center. I haven't been there yet, but maybe this is my year! I have been pretty lucky this year winning GP in Wolfgang Pucks Red Carpet Recipe Contest, 2nd Place in Franks Red Hot Contest, and a finalist spot winning an envelope full of Gorton's Seafood coupons and Ortega Taco Shells.
This is the fun part. Dreaming. The bake-off doesn't even take place until 2012, but I'll be checking my email every minute on September 1st, hoping.
I spent this morning collecting PBO data to see that no one from my state has ever worn the "Cooking Diva" sash and crown.
So if I won, I'd be the first person ever from Kansas to win the Pillsbury Bake Off! Wouldn't that be great? 😀 Hope springs eternal.
By the way, if you think you might like to enter cooking contests, join www.contestcooking.com. This is where home cooks who love to create...meet, talk, learn and play with recipes- for prizes. I've made some great friends since joining ccc, I know you will too!
That kind of looks like me in the middle,... no? 😀
Pillsbury Bake-Off Winners Over The Years
Michigan- 1949 / No-Knead Water-Rising Twists / Theodora Smafield
California- 1950 / Orange Kiss-Me Cake / Lily Wuebel
California- 1951 / Starlight Double-Delight Cake / Helen Weston
Illinois- 1952 / Snappy Turtle Cookies / Beatrice Harlib
Colorado- 1953 / "My Inspiration" Cake / Lois Kanago
Washington DC- 1954 / Open Sesame Pie / Dorothy Koteen
Oregon- 1955 / Ring-A-Lings / Bertha Jorgensen
California- 1956 / California Casserole / Hildreth H. Hatheway
California- 1957 / Accordion Treats / Gerda Roderer
Ohio- 1958 / Spicy Apple Twists / Dorothy DeVault
Louisiana- 1959 / Mardi Gras Party Cake / Eunice G. Surles
Nebraska- 1960 / Dilly Casserole Bread / Leona Schnuelle
Minnesota-1961 / Candy Bar Cookies / Alice Reese
Iowa- 1962 / Apple Pie '63 / Julia Smogor
Michigan- 1963 / Hungry Boys' Casserole / Mira Walilko
Florida- 1964 / Peacheesy Pie / Janis Risley
Nevada- 1966 / Golden Gate Snack Bread / Mari Petrelli
Tennessee- 1967 / Muffin Mix Buffet Bread / Maxine Bullock
Florida- 1968 / Buttercream Pound Cake / Phyllis Lidert
Minnesota- 1969 / Magic Marshmallow Crescent Puffs / Edna M. Walker
Arizona- 1970 / Onion Lover's Twist / Nan Robb
Washington- 1971 / Pecan Pie Surprise Bars / Pearl Hall
Pennsylvania- 1972 / Streusel Spice Cake / Rose DeDominicis
Texas- 1973 / Quick Crescent Pecan Pie Bars / Albina Flieller
Minnesota- 1974 / Chocolate Cherry Bars / Francis I. Jerzak
Indiana- 1975 / Easy Crescent Danish Rolls / Barbara S. Gibson
Colorado- 1976 / Crescent Caramel Swirl / Lois Ann Groves
California- 1978 / Nutty Graham Picnic Cake / Esther Tomich
Florida- 1980 / Italian Zucchini Crescent Pie / Millicent (Caplan) Nathan
Arizona- 1982 / Almond-Filled Cookie Cake / Elizabeth Meijer
Wisconsin- 1984 / Country Apple Coffee Cake / Susan F. Porubcan
Oregon- 1986 / Apple Nut Lattice Tart / Mary Lou Warren
Minnesota- 1988 / Chocolate Praline Layer Cake / Julie Bengtson
California- 1990 / Blueberry-Poppy Seed Brunch Cake / Linda Rahman
South Carolina- 1992 / Pennsylvania Dutch Cake and Custard Pie / Gladys Fulton
North Carolina- 1994 / Fudgy Bonbons / Mary Anne Tyndall
California- 1996 / Macadamia Fudge Torte / Kurt Wait
Washington-1998 / Salsa Couscous Chicken / Ellie Mathews
South Carolina- 2000 / Cream Cheese Brownie Pie / Roberta Sonefeld
Tennessee- 2002 / Chicken Florentine Panini / Denise JoAnne Yennie
Ohio- 2004 / Oats 'n Honey Granola Pie / Suzanne Conrad
Texas- 2006 / Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing / Anna Ginsberg
Maryland- 2008 / Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies / Carolyn Gurtz
New Jersey- 2010 / Mini Ice Cream Cookie Cups / Sue Compton