Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota's 1st Congressional District won a distinct honor Wednesday, as the champion of the Minnesota Hotdish competition with his fellow Minnesota House members and senators, the Star Tribune reports. Walz's winning entry was his "Turkey Trot Tater Tot" hotdish. He took home first place last year as well.
The friendly competition was started four years ago by Sen. Al Franken as a way to give members of Minnesota's congressional delegation a chance to mingle without the usual political sniping, the Star Tribune reports. For the first time, all 10 members of the delegation participated. The national media, eager for a feel-good story about Congress, showed up in large numbers to cover the event, MPR News reports.
In keeping with the congenial nature of the event, the judges were bipartisan as well. Former Minnesota Reps. Vin Weber, a Republican, and Gerry Sikorski, a Democrat, were asked to rate the offerings.
In addition to picking the winner, they chose Republican Rep. John Kline's "Morning Hot Chow" and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar's "It's So Cold My Hotdish Froze Dessert" as runners up.
Part way through the event, all eight House members had to leave for votes while Klobuchar left early for a meeting with President Obama at the White House, MPR reported. That left Franken alone as Sikorski and Weber announced the winner.
Franken jokingly accepted the prize, an engraved hot dish, on Walz’s behalf, saying, “If Tim were here, I know he would thank me.”
Franken's office has posted the recipes for all 10 dishes on its website.
It should be noted that four of the 10 recipes include Tater Tots, and a fifth uses a similar ingredient -- hash browns.