2nd Annual St Urho's Day Mojakka Cook-Off
It was a blustery Sunday, but inside the Northeastern Hotel the atmosphere was warm and jovial. The 2nd Annual St. Urho's Day Mojakka Cook-Off brought out Finns and Finn fans from throught the region, some to share their cooking, some to taste. The chill weather kept folks at home, but there were over a hundred who joined in the festivities.
The panel of four judges was all of Finnish heritage and included last year's winner, Ed Jaakola, Scandinavian Cook Book author Beatrice Ojakangas, Duluth News-Tribune Features Editor Connie Wirta, and "St. Urho's Wife" Priscilla Harvala. The judging was by a blind test... the judges did not know who made which soup, nor did they know the ingredients. The results of their efforts, and the judges' comments in italics:
- 1st Place Lihamojakka - Mumu's Mojakka, Dean Levanen, Thunder Bay, ONT. Based on Grandmother's recipe.
"Broth full of flavor; allspice and pepper nicely balanced."
- 1st Place Kalamojakka - Ancient Chinese Secret, Stacy Desmond & Ben Rimolde, Cloquet, MN.
"Flavor of the broth was rich and buttery. Attractive with fresh spinach and red potatoes and onions. Like Christmas."
The People's Choice Award was presented based on voting by those in attendance. There was a tie between the "Mother-In-Law's Recipe" Lihamojakka served by the Cloquet Fire Local 880, and the "Salmon Kalamojakka" made by Kathy Mullen of Cloquet, based loosely on a recipe in a Finnish cook book.
Like Chili, mojakka is largely a matter of personal taste. All of the contestants put some of their own personality into their soup. The other participants were:
- Al Alaspa, Cloquet - "Helen's Mojakka"
- Pat Ekman, Esko - "Squeak's Favorite Mojakka"
- Dennis Lampi, Cloquet - "Moy-Yuck-A"
- Lucas Bonk, Cloquet - "Beef & Barley"
- Gloria Martin, Duluth - "Old Time Mojakka"
- Steve Pedley, Duluth - "Prairie Lake Kalamojakka" (Perch, flavored with fresh dill)
- Angela Hagen, Cloquet - "Spicy w/Halibut" (clear broth)
- Tom Hagen, Cloquet - "Traditional w/Halibut" (milk broth)
The Friends of Animals Humane Society of Carlton County, Inc., and their new animal shelter in Cloquet were the beneficiaries of this event. Over $600 was raised for the charity.
Winners received a gift certificate from Bergquist Imports of Cloquet, and a trophy created and donated by All-Star Awards of Cloquet. Other contributors included:
- Posters. Northern Printery, Cloquet
- Door prizes. Bergquist Imports; Priscilla Harvala; Northeastern Hotel; Friends of Animals.
- Space for the Cook-off. Northeastern Hotel, Cloquet.
- Promotion. Tim Winker, Wink Timber Media Agency
- www.Mojakka.com and www.StUrho.com
- Beatrice Ojakangas, author of Scandinavian cook books
- Connie Wirta, features editor, Duluth News-Tribune
- Ed Jaakola, winner of the 1st Mojakka Cook-Off
- Priscilla Harvala, Esko, Finnish-American poet
Duluth News-Tribune: Mojakka Contest Winning Recipes
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