Lauren Woods, a fourth-grader at Black Fox Elementary School, is the daughter of Monica and Jason Woods, both lifelong residents of Cleveland. The annual contest is sponsored by Lodge Cast Iron, Martha White, and UT Extension of Marion County.
Activities for the festival are held in the downtown area of South Pittsburg, with cornbread cook-offs, arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, all-day entertainment, children’s corner, a tour of historical homes via a double-decker bus and a full, midway-style carnival.
A 5-K road race will kick off the festival on April 26 at 7 a.m.
The 4-H Cook-off will follow at 9:30 a.m. with the National Cornbread Cook-off beginning at 1 p.m. in the competition area on Second Street.
Weekend long activities include singers, dancers, buttermilk chugs, dry cornbread eating and ice cream eating contests at the Citizens Park Stage on Fourth Street and in the newly renovated Princess Theater.
Be sure to visit Cornbread Alley, where customers buy and sample nine different cornbread dishes. Great activities are available for the entire family throughout the weekend.
For more information, schedules and other information, visit the Festival website: www.nationalcornbread.com, or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Lauren’s recipe, called “Maggie Bread,” is cornbread with pepperoni, sausage, cheese, corn, and sour cream included. The recipe came from the Woods’ family friend, Joe Higgins.
1 stick butter (melted)
1 cup sour cream
2-3 eggs (beaten)
1 1/2 cups Martha White yellow corn meal mix (can substitute this for 1 pack of the Martha white sweet cornmeal mix by omitting the shortening and sugar)
1/8 cup Crisco Shortening (softened)
3 T sugar
1 cup plain or creamed corn
1/2 lb. sausage (cooked)
1/8 cup jalapeno peppers
2 cups mild or medium cheddar cheese (shredded)
4 ounces (about 1/4 cup) of chopped pepperoni
Grease cast iron skillet. Preheat oven AND skillet to 350 degrees. Combine butter, sour cream, eggs, and softened shortening. Mix together and set aside.
Add cornmeal mix, sugar, and corn to wet ingredients.
Cook 1/2 lb. for sausage, drain and set aside. Chop 4-5 forkfuls (about 1/8 cup) of pickled jalapeno
Remove hot skillet from oven. Add 1/2 of the cornmeal mixture. Add 1/2 of the shredded cheese and sprinkle over the top of the cornmeal mixture.
Sprinkle sausage on top of the cheese. Add remainder of cheese on top of the sausage. Add the remainder of the cornmeal mixture to the top of the cheese. Add chopped pepperoni on top of cornmeal mixture. Cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown and set. (If you can shake the skillet and the center of the bread moves, it is not done). Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to plate. Serve hot and enjoy.
During the contest, Lauren will have one hour to make her recipe and cook it for a panel of judges. With a huge smile, Lauren said, she is “really excited about going to the national contest and really wanted to do this.”
When asked what she will do with the prize money if she wins, Lauren said, “I’ll take half to spend on things I want and give the other half to the animal shelter.”