The Daily Mail
By Chris Redwing
CATSKILL — A lively and welcoming crowd, combined with a wide assortment of homemade dishes ranging from hearty pot roast to no-bake oatmeal cookies resulted in the rousing success of the first Senior Citizen Cookoff in roughly 30 years.
Along with Village President Vincent Seeley acting as the Master of Ceremonies, State and County Legislators were in full array as well, including State Senator James Seward and Assemblyman Peter Lopez who proved they could get laughs as well as votes. Lopez in particular joked that some contestants pointedly asked him about his re-election as he sampled their dishes to judge.
The judging was split into two sections, Main Dish and Dessert. Every dish was well-received, and certificates of recognition were handed out to all the contestants. Those attending also had the chance to try the dishes while the judges tallied up the votes, to much approval.
For the Main Dish section, 3rd place went to Theresa Lacitignola for her Turkey Dip, 2nd place was taken by Louise Young for her Tart Side for Meat, and 1st place went to John Scalera for his crowd-pleasing Pasta Fagioli. Best in Show for that section was claimed by Carol Voeks for her Chicken Sausage Dinner.
For the Dessert section, 3rd place went to Charlotte Svidro for her Apple Cake, 2nd place went to MaryAnn Tompkins for her Flan Cake, and Judy Bond took 1st place with her carefully-made Rugelach Pastries. Best in Show for that section went to Pattie Meigs for her Aunt Betty’s Funeral Cake.
Scalera vowed to defend his Main Dish “title” next year and, if the Greene County Department for the Aging have anything to say about it, he’ll have the chance to do just that. As of right now, Department for the Aging officials are already looking forward to next year, hoping on even more contestants and visitors to enjoy the event. Ruth Pforte for Volunteer Services at the department hoped that there might even be enough contestants next year to move it to the school in order to have enough room.
The Cookoff took place at the Washington Irving Senior Center in Catskill, which had a number of services available for seniors in the area, including computer classes, digital camera classes, and many others. A full Wii Bowling league was also up and running, complete with team shirts. Card games were also in supply as many spontaneous games started almost immediately following the proceedings.
After the judging, Seward made a brief statement which seemed to sum up the afternoon’s events well noting there are “two things we can count on, good fellowship which we’ve had today, and good food which we’ve certainly had today.”