Cornbread Festival Essay Contest: Cool Whip Contest

Publisher’s Note: This year we are partnering with the Arkansas Cornbread Festival and the UALR department of English for a writing contest open to all UALR students and alumni. Each person is asked to write a short fiction, nonfiction, or poetry piece exploring the intersection of food and culture. The submissions were judged by a panel of UALR writers.

All entries can be found here


Cool Whip Contest by Thomas Coleman

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The Grand Prize for the 1967 Cool Whip Recipe Contest was an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood, an appearance on the Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. television show, and a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. I’ve never before or since wanted anything as much as I wanted to win that Grand Prize and I carefully plotted to use my grandmother’s secret macaroon pie recipe as the entry. Of course there were a few obstacles blocking my Hollywood Dream. First, my grandmother would no sooner give me her recipe than she would join a satanic cult and secondly, I was only 13 years old and not old enough to win the trip or the Camaro. I suppose it never occurred to me that if I did win I would have to prove my age so, in filling out the form for entry I stretched the truth a bit and said that I was 18 years old. My grandmother was an extremely religious woman and anytime I visited she would expect me to quote a bible verse for her. This particular visit I had completely forgotten to memorize my verse of scripture but, fortunately, I spotted her bible sitting on a lemon-scented, highly polished, end table that sat next to her plastic covered sofa. Opening it up to the book of Matthew, where I had hoped to find something along the lines of “Jesus wept” for use, a dog-eared piece of paper fell out and landed face up on the carpet. To my surprise this well-worn piece of stationary contained the recipe for the holy grail of pies and pastries, grandmother’s macaroon pie. Far more important it represented the answer to my dreams, and visions of cruising down Sunset Blvd. with Gomer, and probably Sgt. Carter, filled my short daydream (Gomer was driving because I didn’t yet have a driver’s license). The final step was to create an entry that was creative and attention grabbing while sounding like it was written by an older person. I settled on poetry and decided to add a little poetic license to the piece as an appeal for sympathy from the judges. Bear in mind that all I knew about poetry at this time was it was supposed to rhyme. I composed the poem, mailed it to the contest address and waited patiently to hear I’d won. Unfortunately that day never came, I didn’t travel to Hollywood and Gomer and I never became friends cruising in my Camaro. I also never confessed to my grandmother that I had stumbled upon, and submitted for the world to see, her prized recipe.

So, please enjoy this original submission for the 1967 Cool Whip Recipe Contest and my grandmother’s secret recipe which I’ve included below.

Grandmother’s Macaroon Pie

Like cartoon smoke cobras

Seducing angels on high

Rises the heavenly aroma

From grandmother’s macaroon pie

 

A sumptuous baked Eden

O’ Earthly delight

Capturing my very soul

With each subsequent bite

 

Strong faith built her guidepost

With a wry biblical twist

So now paradise must wait

Until she finishes her list

 

“Now look here sonny boy

You’re going to reap just what you sow

And Satan is always waiting

At the corner of Misery and Woe”

 

“So get right with Jesus boy

And always sing his praise

He’s the savior from eternal fire

And all sins of yesterdays”

 

“So read your Bible daily son

And break all sinful ties

So you and I can enjoy in heaven

A piece of this here pie”

 

Her sermon but a memory

She sat down our two plates

Freshly made sweet whipping cream

Smothering the dates

 

Many tried to duplicate

But always fell just short

If macaroon pie were an Olympic game

She’d dominate the sport

 

Lying peacefully on her dying day

Waiting to meet her maker

She pulled me close and shared at last

Her secrets as a baker

 

“The Lord is calling me sonny boy”

Her voice smooth as silk

“Mix honey, almonds and vanilla syrup

In sweet condensed milk”

 

So now I choose to share with you

The secrets of her pie

As she bakes in mansions on streets of gold

Where only angels fly

 

Recipe and Baking Instructions – Basic Macaroon Pie

1 cup pecans

12 dates finely chopped

12 saltine crackers – broken

1 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites

8 oz. whipping cream

Mix together the pecans, dates, crackers, sugar, baking powder and almond extract –

Beat egg whites until stiff (not dry) – fold mixture in

Put in a well buttered pan (always use freshly churned when available)

Cook at 350F for 25 minutes

Serve with freshly whipped topping

Grandmother’s Secret Ingredients

Mix a tablespoon honey, 5 finely chopped almonds (unsalted) and a teaspoon of vanilla syrup with sweet condensed milk to form a light paste (make sure the consistency is a paste and not too liquid)

Add this concoction to the mixture to be folded into the egg whites and prepare to enjoy a sweet

Nectar of the Gods.

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Cornbread Festival Essay Contest: Cool Whip Contest