News Date: 
Friday, December 3, 2010

Source: Athens Banner-Herald

Posted: Friday, December 03, 2010

By Lee Shearer

University of Georgia students got a taste of mom's home cooking Thursday - really.

UGA Food Services workers served up thousands of servings of such dishes as pepperoni pizza dip, ty ty chicken, Chinese peas fried rice, teriyaki wings, "The Triplets' Favorite Cheesecake" and 134 other family food treasures submitted by students' parents - blown up to recipe sizes that will feed thousands.

Food services workers dish up about 5 million meals a year - sometimes (like Thursday) more than 30,000 in a day, said Michael Floyd, executive director of UGA Food Services.

More people eat in UGA dining halls during the annual "Taste of Home" promotion than almost any other day during the school year, Floyd said.

It's a special day for many of the parents who submit a winning recipe (139 of them this year). They are invited to dine free with their UGA-student children, and the parent who submitted the chosen recipes gets a commemorative plate.

Thursday was really special for one parent.

Laura Bennewitz of Watkinsville got her eighth commemorative plate - one for each of the winning recipes she's submitted over the past eight years, while sons Tom, who graduated in 2007, and John, who graduates in May, attended UGA. Older daughters Nancy and Katie also attended UGA, though only Katie got a UGA degree; Nancy earned her undergraduate degree at Agnes Scott College.

No other parent has accumulated more than four plates.

Bennewitz's culinary secret is rice, she said, only half-jokingly. Her recipe this year is a tasty green bean casserole, but six of her eight recipes were rice dishes, she said.

"I thought I had a better chance with a side dish," she said.

Bennewitz also aims for recipes with inexpensive ingredients that can be prepared ahead of time, healthy dishes with vegetables, and things that are easy to prepare, with as few ingredients as possible - like rice dishes.

"Rice is cheap, and it's easy to multiply," she said.

And they've all been approved at home before she submitted them, said Bennewitz, a UGA graduate herself.

Many of the parents' recipes have made it into UGA's permanent recipe rotation, Floyd said.

One mother's poppy seed chicken recipe from two decades ago still is popular with students after tens of thousands of servings, he said.