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Cooks' calendar of events

The Harriet Barber House in Hopkins is hosting Strong Threads III, an annual celebration of African-American history and culture, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. This year's featured presenter is Dr. Veronica Gerald, author of "The Ultimate Gullah Cookbook." Join in the fun at 116 Barberville Loop, off Lower Richland Boulevard in Hopkins. For more information, http://strongthreads.com

Slow Food Columbia will host a barbecue dinner 4-6 p.m. Feb 27 at City Roots Farm to celebrate local sustainable food and raise awareness of the slow food movement. Pulled pork supplied by Caw Caw Creek Farm will be prepared by SMOKE! Southern Barbecue Revival of Blythewood. Vegetarian dishes will be available. Tom Hall and the Plowboys will perform. City Roots Farm is at 1005 Airport Blvd, near Owens Field Airport off Rosewood Drive. Tickets and more information at http://slowfoodcolumbia.blogspot.com.

Sign up for the Carolina Pit Masters BBQ School March 12 and 13 in Summerville and learn the fine art of Southern barbecue while helping children in need. The two day event, hosted by the Carolina Pit Masters and the Omar Shriners, puts participants in a simulated BBQ competition to learn the low and slow methods of smoking meat. Students actively plan, select, prepare and present ribs, pork shoulder and whole hogs. Judging will be with experienced certified BBQ judges. Proceeds to benefit the Shriners Hospital for Children. Space is limited. Email carolinapitmasters@gmail.com, or call Jack Waiboer at (843) 767-4800. More information at http://carolinapitmasters.com.

Get locally grown, fresh produce at the All-Local Farmers Market at 701 Whaley St. from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday. For a list of participating vendors, see stateplate.org.The Eau Claire Community Council is now accepting applications for food vendors for the second annual Ribs & Renaissance Arts and Community Festival to be held June 5. Applications are due March 26 and are available by calling Yolanda Bell (803) 960-4538 or online at http://eauclairecommunity.org.

CONTESTS

Think you're hot stuff? Then enter the Palladium Society's 12th Annual Chili Cook-Off. This event, hosted by the Historic Columbia Foundation, is seeking contestants in categories such as vegetarian, meat and heart healthy chili recipes. Cook-off will be Feb. 27 at the Ellison Building at the State Fairgrounds. Advance tickets to the event are $20 for nonmembers and $15 for members and include beer, wine, chili and live music. Get more info and download entry forms at http://historiccolumbia.org. or call (803) 252-7742 ext. 29. Deadline for entries is Monday.

Martha White and Lodge Cast Iron are looking for the best main dish corn bread recipes. Ten finalists will compete in a bake-off for a chance to win $5,000 and a 30-inch stainless-steel gas range ($3,200 value) from Five Star Professional Cooking Equipment. Enter your best recipe at marthawhite.com or e-mail an entry with your name, address, daytime phone, date of birth and grocery retailer to cornbread@dvl.com. You also can mail an entry to National Cornbread Cookoff 2010, 209 7th Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37219. Deadline is March 1. Find official rules at marthawhite.com and lodgemfg.com.

Calling all cooks - high school students, amateurs, independent bakers and professionals. The American Pie Council and Crisco are seeking entries for the National Pie Championships April 23-25 in Orlando, Fla. Deadline for entries: April 9. Find rules and regulations at piecouncil.org.

The Idaho Potato Commission is asking home cooks to submit recipes for their "Watching Waistlines and Wallets" recipe contest. Recipes will be judged on: use of Idaho potatoes as the main ingredient, recipes that contain no more than 10 ingredients, originality and taste, ease of preparation and overall healthfulness of the recipe and the cost to make. Grand prize is $5,000. More info at http://idahopotato.com. Deadline is March 31.

CLASSES

Columbia's Cooking, healthy cooking classes through the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at USC: Feb. 24, "Julie and Julia" Healthy French cuisine, $30, call Brooke Roper at (803) 576-5613 or e-mail roperbl@mailbox.sc.edu . Columbia's Cooking Kitchen is at 915 Greene St.

Chef Francois Fisera hosts cooking classes at Fleur de Lys Home Culinary Institute. Upcoming classes include: Friday and Saturday, chicken pot pie; Tuesday and Wednesday, crepes Suzette. Fleur de Lys is at 3001 Millwood Ave, (803) 765-9999 or http://fleur-de-lys.us.

Upcoming classes at Let's Cook Culinary Studio: Thursday, regional Italian cooking; Friday, couples hands-on winter soups and salads; Monday, regional French cooking; Tuesday, Wild Women dinner. Let's Cook is at 1305 Assembly St. (803) 250-2569; letscookculinary.com

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