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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cook Up Some Fun At Your Next Family Reunion

Last year, my amazing sister Kris surprised us all with a fun activity at our annual family reunion.  We were staying at some condos and had access to two small kitchens and with some prep and effort on her part, we all enjoyed a cooking competition.  We called it Chopped, even though it was more of an Iron Chef type experience.  It was a fun way to involve the cousins in a meaningful, creative and adventurous activity.  We ended up with 4 teams and 3 judges.  We had someone in charge of keeping track of and announcing the time, and when all was said and done, we had lots of delicious food for lunch.  Here's a brief look at the fun we had that will help show how this came together.

Here's the "pantry" table.  At a family reunion, you can just bring a little extra of the items you will be using to prepare planned meals and use that as part of the competition for teams to access.

The teams were divided up so that older cousins were paired with younger cousins.  Each team was given a bag of "mystery" or "essential" ingredients that they had to incorporate into their dish. The timer was set for 45 minutes and they were off.

 Both kitchens became quite the hives of activity.  Two teams shared each kitchen, so they were practically all over each other.  It turned out to be lots of fun, happy chaos.  
 With very limited resources, all the teams came up with some amazing creations.  Most teams ended up preparing a main dish, side dish and a dessert.  

As the judges, we got to sit around and try to think up really pithy descriptive terms relating to food so that we'd sound the part when it came time to judge.  Picking a winner was tough.

Each team had to plate 4 servings so that there were enough for the judges.  It really was all very delicious and it made the decision that much harder.  Now, keep in mind that pretty much all of these cousins were taught to cook at a young age, so remember that results may vary.  ;)

Here stand the winners.  They made a side salad with homemade dressing, a wrap with a chicken, avocado salad filling, and for dessert, toasted flatbread topped with fresh mozzarella and drizzled with honey. Since my 15 year old son was part of the winning team, I was pleasantly surprised!

The winners received bragging rights and a "chopped champ" apron that was signed by all participants.  Below is a recreation look at the experience as I shared it on Studio 5.

Suffice it to say, it was the highlight of the reunion, and considering that we have very fun-filled, action-packed reunions, that says a lot.  The water fight, ring tournament, board-game-marathon, beach and pool time, and even the murder mystery party all took a back-seat to this fun, new tradition.  Can't wait to see what they cook up this year!

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