Yesterday I got the opportunity to attend one of the most unique events I’ve been to on the Hill, the 6th Annual Congressional Minnesota Delegation “Hotdish Off.” Now, if you are thinking that this seems like a pretty random thing for an intern from Oregon to go, you’re probably right! It so happens, however, that one of our staffers is from Minnesota and used to work for a delegation office and was emcee-ing the event and asked me to go along.
Hotdish, if my fellow Pacific Northwestern-ers do not know, is basically any type of casserole dish that makes a hearty, not-so-healthy meal. Typically they involve a starch (rice, potatoes, and commonly tater tots), a meat, some veggies, and the standard “Lutheran Binder,” cream of mushroom soup. It’s a standard at all community gatherings in the northern midwest, especially Min
Needless to say, the purpose of this event is lighthearted.
Members of Congress mingled with the press, judges and hungry observers. Supposedly this is one of the biggest events all for the delegation. The judges were a Minnesotan-born food critic from the Washington Post and his mother, as well as a local restaurant owner and Minnesota native.
The ten dishes lined up were as diverse in name as they were in taste, with names like “Making Hotdish Great Again” and the “Land of 10,000 calories Hotdish.” As the judges tasted each submission, the press swarmed the table of food and the members of Congress. This was probably the biggest press event I have been to in DC and it was all for casserole!
The winner, “Tim’s Turkey Taco Tot Hotdish” got a mix of cheers and boos as the office was announced as a three-time winner and was awarded with a gold-plated glass casserole dish.
Who knew that the highlight of my Wednesday would be getting a slice of Minnesota culture and a big bowl of hotdish too!