The Herald, Sharon,
PA= Published Thursday, Sept. 26, 1996
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Different is better, cooking contest judge says

By Jennifer Hall
Herald Staff Writer

Her trademark ambrosia icing over a chocolate or sponge cake would be the recipe Carol Connelly would submit to The Herald's annual recipe contest.

But Mrs. Connelly won't be submitting the heavenly icing that uses whipped cream, coconut and orange juice for ``What's Cookin' in Your World?''

The home economics teacher in Sharpsville Area School District is serving as a judge for this year's contest.

``I'm looking for something different,'' she said. ``Something lighter that is going to look good as well as taste good. The key is to make it different by adding your own touches.''

Mrs. Connelly spends her days teaching the basics in cooking and nutrition to high school and middle school students.

photo of judge
Sharpsville home-economics teacher Carol Connelly, one of the judges, sayd she'll be seeking lighter recipes.

``We teach the things that most people are going to like,'' she said. ``They do get to try some different recipes and we even learn from the failures.''

And to avoid failures in the contest, she reminds entrants to include all of the instructions or helpful hints that make concocting the recipe easier.

``We really don't want any disasters in the contest,'' she said.

When she was in high school, Mrs. Connelly enjoyed her home economics class and thought a lot of her teacher. So when it came down to decide the path for her life, she said she really couldn't see herself going any other way.

Over the years, Mrs. Connelly has developed a knack at baking pies. At least, she believes she's better at making pies than anything else.

But since her three children, Chris, Pat and Erica, have moved away from home, she doesn't get to test her culinary skills as much.

``I don't cook like I used to,'' she said. ``I don't have as many to cook for _ it really is more fun to cook for a crowd.''

So on the weekends when her children can join her and her husband, John, for dinner, she tends to go all out.

``I'm not a gourmet cook,'' she said. ``But I like to make good things and I watch out for the fat and salt.''

Over the years of teaching, Mrs. Connelly has watched her trade evolve.

``I think people are eating a little more healthy without anybody really noticing it,'' she said about the last 10 years.

Mrs. Connelly has noticed that when she suggests a vegetable day for her students now, they don't gasp like they did 10 years ago. Instead they eat it up.

``They ate everything,'' she said. ``It was amazing how they liked the vegetables when 10 years ago we had to fight to get them to eat it.''

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