APPLETON, Maine — A dumplings and veggie sushi recipe has won a 12-year-old Appleton girl an invitation to a luncheon Monday at the White House.
Annalee Carroll will represent Maine at the “Kids’ State Dinner.” Carroll’s recipe was one of 54 selected from 1,200 submitted across the country as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s program called Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
The program was open to children ages 8 through 12 years old. The family was notified last month that Annalee was chosen to represent Maine.
“There was a lot of jumping,” Annalee said when she learned her recipe had been selected and she would be meeting with the first lady.
“I kind of freaked out,” Annalee said about her excitement with the news.
The 12-year-old Appleton girl said she has been obsessed with the dumplings and veggie sushi meal since she was 6 years old.
Her mother, Marydale Abernathy, said her daughter is at an age where she is encouraged to cook and come up with food ideas. Abernathy said her daughter loves the dumplings and sushi recipe so much that she would eat it at almost every meal if she could.
Annalee said the sushi generally consists of avocados, carrots and cucumbers. The dumplings include cabbage and can have pork or beef in it.
Her mother noted that it is a vegetarian dish but that protein can be added, suggesting that lobster meat could be an additional ingredient to promote Maine’s seafood industry.
She said both her and Annalee are “pinching” themselves after learning that they will be going to the White House for lunch at which some of the recipes selected will be served.
“The first lady is a person who has a place in our heart,” Abernathy said because of her efforts to promote health and local agriculture.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge is part of the effort by the first lady to combat obesity in young people.
Abernathy noted that the students at the Appleton Village School, where her daughter will be a seventh grader when school begins, has a vegetable garden. Food from that garden is served at a community dinner.
One youth from each state; Washington, D.C., and three from U.S. territories have been invited to the luncheon. Airfare and hotel accommodations have been provided for the winners.
The judges for the contest were White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass; Chef Jose Andres; Marshall and Alex Reid, the authors of “Portion Size Me”; Epicurious Editor-in-Chief Tanya Steel; and representatives from the U.S. Development of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Education, according to the program’s website.
The meals were scored based on their nutrition and taste as well as on essays submitted by the children.