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2009 Lentil Cook-off adds reward for those with no taste

Even the lentil haters will find love  at the 2009 Lentil Festival. (The Spokesman-Review)
Even the lentil haters will find love at the 2009 Lentil Festival. (The Spokesman-Review)

There will be a new prize category in the recipe contest at the 2009 Lentil Festival in Pullman.

It seems some people are afraid to taste the entries in the Legendary Lentil Cook-off because they contain, well, lentils. So, in their honor, organizers have created the “I Hate Lentils” prize.

The cook-off committee has recruited three of these reluctant tasters to judge the new category. Those lucky judges will taste all 50 of the recipes in the preliminary cook-off to pick the dish with the least lentil flavor. The prize is $100.

All of the recipes entered in the Legendary Lentil Cook-off must contain ½ cup dry lentils or 1 cup cooked lentils. Entries are screened by a panel of judges who pick the top 50 recipes for a preliminary cook-off, which will be held this year on July 30.

At the cook-off, the recipes are tasted and judged for appearance, flavor, aroma, texture and lentil presence. The top six recipes are then whipped up for the National Lentil Festival, where they are tasted and judged by the crowd in Reaney Park.

The Lentil Festival will be held Aug. 21-23 in downtown Pullman.

Last year, there were 125 entries from 37 states in the recipe contest. The winning recipe is awarded a $1,000 prize, second place takes home $500, third place wins $250 and the remaining three preliminary winners each get $50.

Each year, the recipes are compiled in a cook-off recipe booklet which can be purchased at the Pullman Chamber of Commerce or the Lentil Festival for $4. It can be shipped for an additional $1.25.

Entries in this year’s recipe contest must be postmarked by July 3. Applications for the cook-off are available at

For more information on the festival, cook-off, or cook-off recipe booklet, contact Mary Barstow (800) 365-6948 or (509) 334-3565. Or, write to: National Lentil Festival, 415 N. Grand Ave., Pullman, WA 99163.

The lentil festival organizers are also keeping a blog this year, go to:

Uff da favorites

Norwegian recipes from past smorgasboards are featured in the latest cookbook from the women of the Selbu Lutheran Church in LaCrosse, Wash.

The book has more than 500 recipes, including a chapter of Scandinavian specialties, such as fattigmand bakkles, lefse, kransekake and Swedish meatballs. It is the second cookbook released by the women of the Selbu Church.

“Selbu Church: Komme og Sipse! Come and Eat!” is $15 and proceeds benefit church activities. It is available at LaCrosse Bank of Whitman, Dusty Country Store, Tick Klock Drug and Cottage Gate in LaCrosse. Or send a check for $18.50 ($3.50 covers shipping) for each cookbook to Selbu Lutheran Ladies, 6004 Mud Flat Road, LaCrosse, WA 99143.

We’re always looking for fresh food and restaurant news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call (509) 459-5446, fax to (509) 459-5098 or send an e-mail to

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