Church in North Suffolk, Virginia, Uses Men’s Cooking for Fundraiser

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Men somehow got a reputation for being better cooks than women, but Desdemonia Whittom wanted to find out if there was any truth to that. 

Whittom, a member at the Church of God and Saints of Christ at Temple Beth El in North Suffolk, organized a men’s cook-off at the church last Sunday for the public to sample each dish and rate the men’s culinary talents.

At least nine men signed up for the showdown. Most were church members, but a few were outsiders who had heard about the event and wanted to get feedback on their skills from people other than family and friends.

Among the prepared dishes were brisket and coleslaw, curried chicken and rice, sweet and spicy meatballs, turkey lasagna, chili and cornbread. Two entrants put their baking skills to the challenge and prepared lemon cake, brownies, cupcakes and cookies.

About 35 people from the church congregation showed up to sample the dishes. Adults paid $10, children and seniors were charged $5, and $15 was charged for each entrant.

“I’m a hobbyist. I love to eat,” said John Fanning of Suffolk, who prepared the turkey lasagna. “I have a love-hate relationship with cooking. I hate to cook and love to eat, but I prepared this with love.”

“I learned to cook from my grandmother,” said Judah Volken of Hampton, who prepared pepper steak and rice. “She cooked for eight children and a husband for over 30 years. I call that a professional.”

One of the youngest entrants was 14-year-old Nadae Jones of Portsmouth. He baked brownies, cookies and vanilla cupcakes with help from his younger sister, Zandrea Evans, 10.

“I thought it would be a good idea to share this with everybody,” Jones said. “I started baking when I was 11.”

The event was a fundraiser and social for the church and no outright winner was declared, Whittom said. Several people, however, clearly voiced their favorites.

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Source: The Virginian-Pilot  |  James Thomas Jr.