That’s How Minnesotans Casserole
Updated, 12:44 p.m.
It’s time again for the annual Congressional Hot Dish Off, a friendly food fight pitting the Minnesota delegation’s fully baked ideas against one another.
Democratic Sen. Al Franken cooked up the contest last year as a way of gathering together colleagues from the Land of 10,000 Lakes for some nonpartisan noshing. Fellow Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar claimed the culinary crown with a ground-beef-and-tater-tot mash-up that obviously rang most true to guest judges and ex-Reps. Vin Weber (R) and Gerry Sikorski (D).
Weber and Sikorski will be back behind the tasting table this afternoon, blindly evaluating eight homemade creations whipped up by Franken, Klobuchar and Reps. Tim Walz (D), Erik Paulsen (R), Keith Ellison (D), Michele Bachmann (R), Collin Peterson (D) and Chip Cravaack (R).
Walz was the runner-up last year, while Paulsen, Cravaack and Peterson are first-time participants.
Rep. John Kline (R) will skip the event for the second year in a row. Rep. Betty McCollum (D), who tossed her pork-and-cranberry-studded bid into the ring last year, has a committee-scheduling conflict.
Most of the lawmakers we contacted chose to keep the recipes for this year’s entries close to their vests (there’s bragging rights involved, don’tcha know). But a survey of the 2011 entrees suggests the judges — and anyone who chooses to scoot over to room SVC 201/200 of the Capitol Visitor Center from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. — will feast on more than their fair share of wild rice, cream of mushroom soup and exotic meats.
A Franken aide admitted to co-opting Klobuchar’s winning concoction for a Super Bowl spread and claims to have also revisited Ellison’s tuna-based medley on more than one occasion.
Party hardy, folks!
Update, 12:44 p.m.
Though staff and press are welcome, today’s Hot Dish Off is closed to the general public.