Girl Scout Heads for the White House!

By: Jesse Cook, Media Intern

JuliaJulia R., a 5th grade Girl Scout from Oneonta, recently won a cooking contest and has been invited to visit the White House for a Kids’ State Dinner where she will meet and eat with Michelle Obama.

Julia has always loved cooking. She began helping in the kitchen at an early age and first cooked by herself when she was only four years old. She discovered she was a good cook. She always enjoyed what she made and now she says she likes “altering the recipes and adding my own personal touches.”

The recipe Julia chose to enter into the contest was a spinach and apple salad with blueberry dressing, cheese pennies, and cinnamon almonds. Recipes entered into the contest had to be healthy and meet nutritional and affordability criteria. Julia’s original cheese pennies recipe was high in fat, but she created a modified version, “decreasing the amount of fat and including healthy whole grains without sacrificing the delicious taste of the New York extra-sharp cheddar cheese.” Since Julia loves sharp cheese with fruit, she decided on the salad with apples and blueberry vinaigrette.

Julia and her mom, Rachel – who is also her troop leader, will be leaving for Washington, D.C. on July 9 and return home on July 10. Their itinerary has been planned by the contest organizers. They will be visiting the Smithsonian and having a private tour of Julia Child’s Kitchen; doing a pay-it-forward activity with celebrity chef Michel Nischan to support a local charity; having a tour of the White House kitchen garden; and attending the dinner with Michelle Obama. The dinner will consist of some of the winning entries. Julia doesn’t know if her recipe will be part of the dinner, but she hopes it will be.

Julia says that Girl Scouts taught her how to plan healthy meals when planning for camp. She said her troop “did such a good job planning healthy and nutritious meals for our trip this past May that our leader had to make an executive decision and add some things to the grocery list because we had completely forgotten about s’mores!” She says she has cooked for her troop several times on camping trips. They once planned to make chicken soup, but didn’t have a recipe. Julia took charge and though the other girls were a little nervous when they saw her liberally adding spices, they loved the end result. She has earned the Simple Meals cooking badge. When asked what her favorite part about Girl Scouts was, Julia said, “It’s hard to pick a favorite since I enjoy it all. Being a Girl Scout is part of my identity.” Apparently so is being a great cook!

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