A Zionville woman is the grand prize winner of the 48th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.
Amy Nelson was announced as the winner on the Food Network show The Kitchen on Saturday night. Nelson was a prior winner of the Cozy Breakfasts category in January, putting her in the running for a chance to win the overall prize.
“We loved hearing Amy’s story of how her recipe was inspired by her mother’s famous cranberry salad and how the Bake-Off Contest allowed Amy to bring her own new twist to a long-time family favorite,” says Joanna Hargus, senior marketing manager for Pillsbury. “We love hearing how Pillsbury helps today’s home cooks honor family memories while creating new recipes and traditions.”
Her prize is $50,000, a kitchen makeover from GE Appliances and a feature in Food Network Magazine.
In her winner story profile in the Cozy Breakfasts category, Nelson recalled her first time eating Pillsbury orange rolls:
“My mother was born in 1925 and was never a fancy or adventurous cook. We had the same meal for every holiday,whether it was Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas. She never wavered for fear of familial uprising! Those meals together were unforgettable. One thing that was always on the holiday table was the cranberry congealed salad. It was a familiar mixture of chopped fresh cranberries, orange, celery, pecans, pineapple and Jello; we devoured it. (My husband may have even married me because of it.) I have a handwritten notebook of recipes, and on the cranberry-stained, well-used page that holds this one, at the top it reads “Called Mama every year (for the recipe). Wrote it down Thanksgiving 2000.” We were not a family of convenience foods. “Having” to eat homemade food at every meal, I thought of canned spaghetti and frozen dinners in aluminum trays as treats! One year, though, we were visiting my sister and she had bought Pillsbury™ orange rolls for breakfast. They were so different from anything I had ever had (this was way before the gourmet cinnamon roll craze) and I loved them. Apparently so did my mama, because fairly often after that they would show up in our fridge at home. They were a convenience food my mom took a liking to, and eating them takes me back in my mind to our kitchen table on mornings before school. In my recipe, the cranberry, pineapple, walnuts and ginger perfectly punctuate and complement the orange rolls. Yes, these rolls are “just food”, but can food not, with its profound taste and olfactory power, send us in an instant back to a place of familiar and immediate happiness in our hearts? Yes. A later entry on the cranberry salad recipe page reads: “December 24, 2010: Didn’t make (the salad) for Thanksgiving this year. This is the second year without Mama and Daddy. I miss them terribly, but every motion during the holidays makes me remember them in happy, vivid detail.” I will cook these rolls and remember…”