Claiming a need to spend more time with his family, chili cook-off kingpin Merle Larson has withdrawn from Saturday night’s Senate District 29/30 Chili Cook-off at the IBEW Hall south of Rochester.
The revelation rocked the hyper-competitive world of rural Democratic chili contests. Spouse of DNC member Nancy Larson, the gruff cook dominates chili cook-off in his adopted home of Meeker County. Last spring he extended his holdings to the Rochester area by stealing all-around champ honors from local chefs.
“I simply can’t believe it,” one chef and progressive activist from Central Minnesota said, declining to be named. “It’s always been a gas watching Merle smoke his rivals, year after year, and so to see him go quietly just leaves a weird aftertaste in my mouth.”
Reaction among Rochester area cooks was mixed.
“The Askelin clan has been perfecting chili recipes for the last year,” Rochester labor activist Laura Askelin said. “It’s obvious to me that he knows when he’s been beat. But we want our rematch!!!”
Other contestants didn’t regret Larson’s cowardice. Liz McLoone Dybvig demonstrated why she rules the mild table.
“As the reigning champion of the Mild category in the SD 29 & 30 Chili cook-off, I would like to commend fellow chili champion Merle Larson for choosing family first,” McLoone said.
Insiders speculated that Larson’s absence will increase participation in the contest. “Look at what Governor Pawlenty’s decision not to run for a third term did to the gubernatorial race,” Culinary Arts professor Merkin Muffley said. “With a level cooking surface, there’s no telling how many more will jump in to stir the crockpot.”
Muffley noted that with Larson’s withdrawal from the contest, rumors had sprung up that a local Republican cook planned to infiltrate the competition (see artist sketch above).
The detail of the fundraiser:
The time is here again to whip up your most famous Chili, Chocolate Desert or both…
We bringing back the Chocolate Event this year also. So I’m thinking strongly of a great Chocolate item. I won that a couple of years ago so I’m sending out a challenge to all of you to try to claim the titles for one or both categories.
A new addition this year is a DISPLAY YOUR TALENTS. If you have items that you have created please bring them to display at Cook Off. Our own Mary Jones has agreed to display her award winning Quilt. (and it isn’t for sale). So bring your creations and let us all admire your talents.
Our famous silent auction is also part of the evening. Your welcome to bring items for the auction.
Invite your family and friends to join this special, fun evening.
Questions please contact Mary Petersson, 507-286-1061, or myself.
For those of you perfecting your chili and chocolate recipes, here are the categories:
Candidates choice for best chili
Candidates choice for best chocolate dessert
Best mild chili
Best medium chili
Best hot chili
Best vegetarian chili
Best chili overall
Best tasting chocolate dessert
Best looking chocolate dessert
Looking forward to your challenges and a great fun filled evening as we judge the entries and visit with governor hopefuls