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In the Kitchen with... 'Souper' Soups
By Carol McGarvey
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'Souper' Soups
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Check out these recipes from our 'Souper' Soups winners:

Bourbon Bacon Potato Soup

Tamale Soup

Super Soup

Stone Fruit Gazpacho with Scallops

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Once again, some talented Iowa cooks dish up delightful soups at the Iowa State Fair.

Outside the Elwell Family Food Center at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, food was all about the Pork Almighty, a bruschetta sundae called Mt. Vesuvius, the deep-fried Apple Taco, and other diet-busting delights. But inside, part of your intrepid Welcome Home staff was focused on our very own Souper Soups contest, which we have sponsored for much of the last decade.

This is a relatively small contest, so it’s not separated into divisions. A hearty stew might oppose a cold fruit soup. It’s apples and oranges at its finest. But we do our best. We’re always amazed at the variety and the ingenuity of Iowa cooks.

This Year’s Winner:

  • First Place: Bourbon Bacon Potato Soup
    Renee Gibson of Waukee
  • Second Place: Tamale Soup
    Deanna Smith of Des Moines
  • Third Place: Super Soup
    Mary Tibbetts of Urbandale
  • Honorable Mention: Stone Fruit Gazpacho with Scallops
    Rebecca Howe of West Des Moines

A Shout-Out to Arlette Hollister

Arlette Hollister

We can’t put this year’s Iowa State Fair to rest without raising our ladles, knives, and wooden spoons high for Arlette Hollister, food superintendent extraordinaire.

For 30-something years, she has run an efficient operation. She corralled numerous assistants, judges, and exhibitors and turned them into a fine-tuned machine. That was the part the public could see. During the rest of the year, she was on the phone and in person to gain new sponsors for money prizes and products to reward good cooks. She raised the bar incredibly to more than 10,000 food entries in more than 175 divisions.

When she took over, record-keeping was done by hand. Later, computers made the operation easier.

She successfully helped move the food operation from the Maytag Family Center to the Elwell Food Center building several years ago, where better lighting and display space with easy-to-view display cases showcase the work of the good cooks of the state. Some travel huge distances to bring their foods to be judged. Some bring one or two entries; others bring 50, 60, or more.

This was to have been Arlette’s last year, but sadly, it all came to an abrupt halt when she fell earlier in the summer and had to go to rehab to recover. Fortunately, her successor, Karen McKilligan of Ames, had shadowed Arlette last year and was to do the same this year. Instead, she was suddenly in charge. Karen pulled it off with grace and efficiency. We know she will run an equally fine-tuned operation.

And when nay-sayers decry the fact that people don't cook anymore, send them to the food contests at the Iowa State Fair.

Thanks, Arlette.

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