Saying ‘mac and cheese’ at Hudson Cook-Off
By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Hudson Public Schools and Board of Health chose macaroni and cheese as this year’s theme for the fourth annual Hudson Cook-Off, held March 6 at Hudson High School. Competing for three awards were four teams consisting of students, parents and faculty from the town’s middle and three elementary schools.
Comfort food potentially provides benefits, noted Jenny Gormley, RN, MSN and NCSN, director of health, nursing and safety for the district.
“You can cook healthy for not too much money and time,” she said. “Mac and cheese can be adapted to be healthy and still taste good.”
Among the community leaders serving as judges was Assistant Superintendent Jodi Fortuna.
“I couldn’t believe how different all four macaroni and cheeses were,” she commented.
Selectman Chris Yates gave high scores to each entry. He particularly liked Farley School’s carrots and crust; Mulready School’s generous dose of cheese; Forest Avenue School’s spicy accent; and Quinn School’s offerings of veggies.
Cathy Kilcoyne, director of pupil services, said she loved being asked to judge even though she hates macaroni and cheese. Yet, she found an exception: the Forest Avenue School Team.
“I would eat that macaroni and cheese at my house,” she admitted. “I would even try to make it.”
Their votes were added to those of the other judges: Sarah Cressy, president and CEO of the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Detective Chad Crogan, of the Hudson Police Department.
Forest Avenue School captured each award: the judges’ Best Taste and Team Spirit, and the People’s Choice of attendees.
Sam Wong, director of public and community health services, was pleased with the entries’ recipes.
“All of the pasta used was whole grain, so it boosts the dietary fiber, and most used low-fat cheese,” he explained. “The winning team added cauliflower to give an extra creamiest without more fat.”
Serving as emcee, Principal Brian Daniels of Quinn Middle School announced the wellness poll participants who won raffles prizes, which were donated by local businesses.
The entries’ ingredients were donated by Hannaford. Guests were also offered healthy choices from Harvest Café and Whitson’s Culinary Group. Chair massages, and blood and skin checks were available.
While admission was free, guests were encouraged to bring nonperishable food items for the Hudson Community Food Pantry (HCFP). Gratitude for the donations was expressed by Kathi Hart, a volunteer and board member.
“The bulk of our food comes from outside donations and sponsored events such as this Cook-Off,” she noted.
Monetary donations can be sent to HCFP, PO Box 608, Hudson MA 01749. Either monetary or food items can be dropped off during open hours at the HCFP, located at 28 Houghton Street. Open hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 to 10:30 a.m.; and the first Thursday of each month, 7 to 8:30 p.m. For information, call the HCFP at 978-562-5280.
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