Cookbook contest deadline fast approaching

Tri-State Area residents who plan to participate in the annual Holiday Cookbook contest presented by the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times need only glance at the calendar to be reminded that Friday is the last day to submit entries to be eligible for judging.

Entry forms for the annual competition have been appearing in both papers since early September. Contest forms are not necessary to take part, officials with the newspapers have said. Just type, print or write legibly on a letter-size sheet of paper, and include the name, address and telephone number of the person entering the recipe on each submission.

The annual cook-off is planned for Nov. 7 at St. Florian Hall for those who are notified that their recipe has been chosen by one of the category judges. This year’s panel will use their years of cooking experience to make first- and second-place decisions in their categories and then pick the grand prize winner and runner-up.

Linda Chivers will judge appetizers and breads this year, graduating from her holiday cookies and candies category of the past seven years.

She recently retired after 44 years with Kroger, where she was in charge of the deli and bakery departments for many years. Her retirement has not kept her from taking part in baking projects. She conducted the Wintersville Kroger cookie decorating contest at the 2013 Jefferson County Fair, held a cake decorating class for the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, served as a judge for the cupcake war held at the fair and was a judge for Jefferson County 4-H projects.

Greg Froehlich, the main dish and casserole category judge, has served as a judge three times in the past. He and his wife, Debbie, own and operate Froehlich’s Classic Corner. Greg has more than 40 years of experience with food operations. He and his wife owned and operated Froehlich’s Riverboat Rom for eight years before purchasing the building at 501 Washington St. that houses Froehlich’s Classic Corner.

“Judging is not an easy job. Everyone who enters has great recipes and adds special touches to their prepared foods,” he said of the job that involves tasting the finalists in his category.

Dragana Lazic will judge cakes and pies. She is employed at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County and has conducted cooking classes on all types of foods for as many as 40 cooks who are eager to learn new things. Jessica Starkweather, 12, who entered the Unionport Apple Pie Baking Contest and the Holiday Cookbook in 2012, has been one of her students. Lazic said she is anxious to again be part of the cookbook contest.

Natalie Doty, last year’s grand prize winner, will judge side dishes and salads. She was the grand prize winner for the third time last year with a Cranberry-Pear Clafouti, a recipe she got from her daughter, Raelinn, who works at the French consulate in San Francisco. She has been the grand prize winner three times. She is a retired physical education teacher who now has time to host dinners, something she loves to do as much as traveling.

Cassie Piergallini-Doughty will judge holiday cookies and candies. This is her second time as a judge, but she is no stranger to the competition. He father, Todd Piergallini, the owner of St. Florian Hall, has been a judge in the contest for about 20 years. Cassie took his place in 2010 when he was not available and appeared on the cover of the cookbook. She is quite busy now as a wife, mother of Max and caterer for St. Florian Hall and the Weirton Knights of Columbus.

Recipes must be postmarked by Friday and sent to the Herald-Star/Weirton Daily Times Holiday Cookbook Contest, 401 Herald Square, Steubenville, OH 43952. Entries also may submitted by e-mail to or dropped off at the newspaper office.

Many of the recipes submitted will be compiled in a cookbook that will be published in time for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.

(McCoy can be contacted at