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happy new year | a cooking competition

Happy New Year!
I thought I would share with you how we celebrated last night. Our family is unusual, in that we rang in the New Year with a little friendly cooking competition. That’s right, we channel our inner Top Chef’s and duke it out in the kitchen. It’s become a tradition. A yearly event. At least for the last 5 years, anyway.

Most years, the ‘competition’ takes place on Christmas Eve, but for reasons of scheduling and the fact that heavy drinking and New Year’s Eve seem to go hand in hand, we moved the even to last night. And I have to say, this was the best year yet.

The teams are this: boys vs. girls. My sister, sisters-in-law and me on one team and my brothers, husband and brother-in-law on the other team.

Every year, the rules have been tweaked. This year, the guide lines were this:

Each team makes two sandwiches and two drinks. Enough to serve the crowd. We had a budget of $65 (minus liquor and pantry staples) and 1 1/2 hours to cook.

Now, that seems like a long time, but with 8 adults, one stove and a not huge kitchen to work in, it always comes down to the wire. And usually a little over.

After given our directions for the competition, planning went into action. No fewer that 600 texts were sent between the players on Sunday to get ready for the big…I mean party. On a separate note, I am incredibly grateful for unlimited texting plans.

The Menu:

They guys team made a steak sandwich with fried onions (it’s not a serious competition until someone fires up the deep fryer) and a fancy-i-fied breakfast sandwich.

The girls served a grilled apple bacon and cheddar sandwich with onion jam (friggin’ amazing!) and a shrimp po’ boy. I had never made a po’ boy before, but man was it good.


The drinks ranged from cinnamon roll milkshakes to bloody mary’s to spiked minty coffee and an ‘adult’ high C orange drink. Let me tell you, that was a heck of a lot of drinks. But hey, that’s what New Year’s Eve is for. Drinking, apparently.

So in the end, the food was incredible, the drinks were comforting and we only broke two glasses in the process. Not bad at all.

I am well aware that this is not a typical way to spend the holiday, but I have to say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a blast. And I’m already planning on next year.

Now you know what I did last night. What were you all up to? Whatever it was, I hope you had an incredibly fun and safe time!

Happy New Year!

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2 comments on “happy new year | a cooking competition”

  1. This is my kind of family tradition!

  2. Definitely a memorable night! The cinnamon roll milkshakes were beyond amazing.