Though the McLeod County Fair is when 4-H is most visible thanks to popular showings of cows, horses, goats, pigs and more, it’s not the only time when 4-H’ers can earn ribbons to the Minnesota State Fair.
One such opportunity is 5:30 p.m. Monday at the annual 4-H Favorite Foods Show in the fairgrounds Commercial Building.
“Kids will plan a whole meal,” said Darcy Cole, the county’s 4-H program coordinatoor.
The meal is planned ahead of time and the 4-H’er must bring a main dish for their display.
“A lot of times the kids will have a theme, so it might be a camping theme or a lumberjack theme,” Cole said, “and the food revolves around that.”
As the age of the students covers a range, the complication of recipes will as well. Fourteen 4-H’ers representing seven clubs will present. One student will show how to make fun shapes out of vegetables and another is showing microwave chocolate mug cakes. Older 4-H’ers are showing recipes such as creamy garlic chicken with broccoli and picture-perfect pesto salad.
Along with the dish, kids must prepare two signs: one with the menu and one with the recipe. They must also set up the place setting with a mat, tablecloth, decorations and the proper arrangement of dishes and silverware.
“They have to know where the cup goes, where the silverware goes. That’s one of the most interesting challenges, I think,” Cole said. “Kids look at the sheet of paper they get ahead of time to figure it out.”
Judges move from table to table asking questions about the display, the nutritional aspects of the meal and the serving size.
“(The serving size) can trip kids up a little bit,” Cole said. “They might think what they gave is the serving. But if they have an overflowing plate of pasta, that’s more than a serving.”
The kids are also asked how they picked the recipe and theme, about how well food preparation went and about food or ingredient substitutions. The club members will also vote for their own awards, such as most creative menu and best signs.
The event is part of Family Fun Night, when the club serves meals to 4-H families and guests and 4-H’ers set up tables with displays kids can visit to learn something new. Displays will include rock painting, shooting sports and dairy.
“It’s a wide variety of quick activities to rotate through,” Cole said.
Family Fun Night is 6:15 to 7:45 p.m. Monday. Call the Extension office at 320-484-4334 to RSVP.
Those two events may seem like more than enough to keep 4-H busy, but there will be more to do Monday as fruit for the 4-H fruit delivery will arrive. The fundraiser is 4-H’s second biggest of the year.
“We will literally go through and touch every fruit in the boxes to make sure it is high-quality,” Cole said.
She expects the club will spend two to four hours inspecting the fruit starting at 10 a.m. Families will then pick the fruit up and make deliveries.