Debbies cooking addiction: It’s all the Doughboy’s fault

My name is Debbie and I live on the west coast of Florida. During the day I work for a local municipality, but at night and on weekends you will find me in the kitchen or outside by the grill whipping up a new and tasty dish. I have been creating and competing in recipe contests and cooking competitions since 2008. First, I started out slowly and just entered a few contests here or there, now it takes up most of my free time and am amazed at the wonderful opportunities it has afforded me. Numerous magazines and cookbooks have published me.

For those unfamiliar (and familiar!!) with the world of recipe contests and competitive cooking competitions, welcome to my little corner of the world! It is actually a world that until a few short years ago, I didn’t know existed. Sure, most everyone has heard about the Pillsbury Bake-off, the mother of all recipe contests. And has seen an ad here or there about entering your favorite pizza recipe or sandwich recipe to win anything from a year’s supply of cheese to maybe some cash. Well, until you step inside this little world, you can’t imagine how big it is, or how addictive it becomes! Take it first hand from someone who has been totally sucked into it…happily though!!

I have experienced things that I never would have been able to and to be honest. Can’t believe some of the things I have been able to do. I have also had the pleasure of meeting some of the nicest people along the way. And have made friends that I will have for life. I hope you come along for the ride as I share my past, present and future cooking adventures with you!

So, I blame this whole debbies cooking addiction on the Pillsbury Doughboy!  I have to blame someone, right?!

It all began many, many years ago. When I was growing up and would see the announcement for the winner of the Pillsbury Bake-off, I always thought how glamorous it seemed.  Each and every time I said I am going to enter when I am old enough.  Well, time went by. When I was old enough, real life and responsibilities kicked in. So, i pushed it to the back burner.  Then, to be honest, I pushed it even farther than that…then kind of forgotten about.

Well, that all changed a few short years ago.  The contest was open for submissions and I remember thinking, “you aren’t getting any younger”.  So, I sat down, read the very lengthy rules, and started to jot down a some ideas.  I entered just a few recipes that year. And I thought that because I entered more than one I was a shoe in!!  Very naive on my part!  Little did I realize just  how many recipes people actually enter.

My phone didn’t ring with a very familiar “hoo hoo” on the other end. But, by actually sitting down and entering the bake-off it peaked my interest to see what other recipe contests may be out there.  Little did I know just how many there were.

They hold the bake-off every other year. So, I figured while I waited for it to open again, I would enter some other contests.  I entered a handful of them and waited to see what happened.  Well, a few short weeks later we were out of town on vacation.  When we arrived home I had a message on our answering machine from a representative from Tillamook, calling about a recipe I entered in their macaroni and cheese contest.  Inviting me to their cook-off in Chicago!  To say the least, I was shocked …and was so excited. So, I called them right back to leave them a message…even though it was the weekend and even though it was 2:00 a.m.!

To be honest, I was a bit scared.  I had never done anything like a live cook-off before in my life.  I started to have some doubts about if I should go.  But, I finally decided that if I thought I had any desire to enter recipe contests this would be the test. Especially those with a live cook-off element. A test to find out if I liked it and had any desire to continue with this new hobby.

A few weeks later I was off to Chicago for the macaroni and cheese cook-off.  Sadly, I didn’t win at the event. But it sure answered the question. Would I be entering any more contests?  It was nerve wracking, exhilarating, exhausting, and more fun than I would ever have imagined.  It was a truly awesome experience.

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