Food for Thought: Cook rice dish as a family, win money

By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald staff writerAugust 21, 2013 

The family that cooks rice together may be able to spend $15,000 together. The makers of Uncle Ben's rice are holding a Ben's Beginners Cooking Contest open to parents and guardians of children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Shoot a video of your family making a rice-based dish while discussing how you enjoy cooking together, and you'll have a chance at the grand prize. In addition to the $15,000, Mars Food NA, makers of the well-known rice brand, also will arrange an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show and contribute $30,000 toward a makeover for the children's school cafeteria.

Now through Oct. 6, families can go to to submit their videos, find kid-friendly recipe ideas, cooking tips and full contest rules.

The concept of Ben's Beginner Cooking Contest came from a passion to inspire healthy beginnings in life by encouraging parents and kids to cook together.

"We believe parents and children in the kitchen together helps establish healthy habits at an early age and strengthens the family unit as a whole," wrote Tim Snyder in a news release. He's vice president of marketing for Mars Food US.

"When families cook together, everybody wins," he wrote.

In addition to the grand prize, three other finalists will receive $5,000, an appearance on the Rachael Ray Show and a $10,000 cafeteria makeover for their schools.

Schools can enter the contest too. The three schools with the most videos submitted in their school size category will receive $30,000 cafeteria makeovers.

Fire up

Starting briquettes is easy if you invest in a chimney starter. Just place crumpled newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, fill it with the charcoal briquettes and light the paper.

In about 20 minutes, the charcoal will ready to spread evenly in the bottom of the grill. There's no need for kindling, lighter fluid or stacking the briquettes into a pyramid.

New read

Book: All Fired Up: Smokin' Hot BBQ Secrets From the South's Best Pit Masters by Troy Black.

Cost: $25

Best for: Barbecue is king in the South and Black is one of the best pit masters in the region. The author traveled across the South gathering every tip, every secret he could and put them all in this book. He's included step-by-step photos to go along with his recipes, including one for that ultimate Southern recipe, the Pulled Pork Sandwich. He's also shared his recipes for tried and true rubs, sauces and marinades.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; To receive a recipe via email each Tuesday, register at

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