By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar has bragging rights after her Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish was judged best in a friendly hot dish contest.

Klobuchar was among several members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation taking part Wednesday in a bipartisan “Hot Dish Off” in Washington.

The Democrat says her combination of Tater Tots, pepper jack cheese and “unique taconite hot dish name” gave her the edge.

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz was runner-up with his Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Hot Dish.

Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, hosted the competition as a way to bring Minnesota’s delegation together at the start of the new session. The competition even had its own slogan — “Improving the lives of Minnesotans, one hot dish at a time.”

Other participants included Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat.

The hot dish judges included former Reps. Vin Weber, a Republican, and Gerry Sikorski, a Democrat.

“If there is a tie, we will have an eight-month recount,” Franken joked.

He also explained “Hot Dish” as a unifying agent.

“This is bringing the entire delegation together across party lines,” he said.

Rep. Bachmann, fresh off her State of the Union response Tuesday night, said she wanted to win.

“I have got my fingers crossed. I am hoping, I am hoping,” she said. “I don’t want to influence the judges but I brought my apron.”

Franken gave a name to Bachmann’s dish.

“Hers is called State of the Union response,” he said.

Sadly, however, there could be only one true winner.

Klobuchar issued a statement after her victory.

“Given the fine quality of the other hot dishes, this is truly an honor,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “I think the combination of the tater tots, pepper jack cheese, and unique taconite hot dish name gave us the edge.”

As for Franken, he said, “I’m a little bitter I didn’t win.”

Franken says he is already planning a rematch — he will sponsor another cook off next year.

Here are all the recipes:

Sen. Klobuchar’s Taconite Tater Tot Hot Dish
Sen. Franken’s Wild Rice And Turkey Hot Dish
Rep. McCollum’s Pork, Cranberry & Wild Rice Casserole
Rep. Bachmann’s Minnesota Oktoberfeast
Rep. Ellison’s Tuna Noodle Casserole
Rep. Walz’s Chicken Mushroom Wild Rice Hot Dish

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (20)
  1. scott says:

    What’s next? A car show? Best dressed? Coloring contest? Hey I know – GET TO WORK!

    1. Jordan says:

      We are the state of Minnesota nice, big deal let them take a day off, we have the most delegates who actually attend and vote in almost every session of congress. GO AMY!

      1. StraycatStrut says:

        Franken took his day off when on the clock at the Supreme Court hearing for “whats her face”…. remember he was on the panel…… cameras caught him sleeping. Franken has ZERO to offer…. and as a comedian… he was BAD at that too! I guess he’s part of the countrys Hope and Change. Lets do HotDish!

      2. scott says:

        OK, in a time that a person hears “You’re so lucky to have a job”. So it’s Ok that the Nation’s budget is balanced after the Potluck, the Unemployment issue comes after the car show, we’ll wait for the answer to taxes once the beauty King/Queen is crowned and how to pay for Social Security out once crayons are found. PLEASE! Oh yeah I wonder on how much more free air time Sen. Amy Klobuchar will get this time.

  2. Sue says:

    We do stuff like this once in a while at work and we still get our work done. Sometimes you just need a little stress relief. No big deal.

  3. Rich says:

    Is this a joke? Do your job Sen. Franken!

    1. Brian says:

      Rich, Scott, and everyone else who has their noses bent out of joint:


      Franken and eveyone else on the Minnesota delegation–Republican and Democrat–work plenty hard. Having this hot dish contest doesn’t mean they aren’t getting their work done. Relax and enjoy the food!

  4. Paula says:

    Fine have a cooking contest, but clock out first, and don’t do it on tax payer dollars.

    1. Gary says:

      I doubt any politician in American history has ever punched a clock! That’s for people with real jobs.

  5. Deb says:

    It’s great that Sen. Franken is trying to build a friendly environment between the delegates in our state. There is way too much hatred and anger– bringing it down a few notches would be brilliant.

    1. StraycatStrut says:

      Deb…. great reply….now just if the Democrats could follow your wisdom…. remember the Repubicrats are “in the back of the bus”, “The party of NO” and of course their Stately positions caused the Tucson tragedy…need more?. Have you ever heard Franken scream on radio at a call in? Hmmmm….. I’m all for calm…. but it is not going to happen. Dems do not liike calm. Franken was hungry for a free meal. Ha!!

  6. Broke & Hungry says:

    My question….who paid for the food….I am guessing US? And who ate the food? Uh….NOT US? Did it go to the homeless? I’m sure it went to the people already FAT on us tax payers….
    And what happened to this “biggest loser” thing and healthy eating? Was Michelle Obam eating this stuff? Cuz you KNOW Prez Obam was…..
    I mean it’s great they are having FUN..they are humans……but when it’s on MY $….

  7. Joey says:

    Relax… i doubt half of the people leaving comments ALWAYS keep their nose to the grindstone. They probably did it on lunch break. Meanwhile, when you were at work, on your work computer, on your work’s dime, you were reading this article and leaving comments. Relax and let them eat.

  8. opinionator says:

    What about a cookbook fundraiser? That might help staunch the budged bleeding.

  9. Tom says:

    time could be better spend trying to fix the job crises

  10. stpaulnative says:

    Joey – totally agree with you! Negative people … chill out. It was a potluck for gosh sakes, not a 5-star eatery!

  11. Linda says:

    Franken hosted it, at his home. Members of MN political office holders in Washington furnished their own ingredients. STRESS RELIEF IN A NICE MINNESOTA WAY!! Get over yourselves and smile once in a while.

    1. Eartha says:

      Well said. A little slice of humanity can’t hurt.

  12. Gary Olson says:

    Food is always a common demoniitator with alll people! I am glad that we can agree to disagree!

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