First District Congressman Tim Walz brought home the bacon - make that turkey - Wednesday winning his second consecutive Minnesota Hotdish competition with fellow Minnesota House members and Senators.
Headed into the fray, Walz announced that he had lost 85 pounds eating his "Turkey Trot Tator Tot" concoction. This didn't seem like an endorsement until Walz added that he was "about to run a marathon."
The annual food fest is a bipartisan feast dreamed up four years ago by Democratic Sen. Al Franken to give members of the Congressional delegation an ever-so-brief respite from gridlock and sniping between Democrats and Republicans.
All 10 members of the delegation participated in the fourth annual event. Republican Rep. John Kline has occasionally been a begrudging participant, but his "Morning Hot Chow" tied with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar's "It's So Cold My Hotdish Froze Dessert" for runner-up status.
Asked if he made the dish himself, Kline, a burly ex-Marine, replied cryptically, "We did."
Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen claims to be one of the few members of the delegation to all of his own cooking. Paulsen said his roommates had made a video of him preparing his dish Tuesday night as proof.
Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, participating in her final Minnesota Hotdish because she will not seek reelection, offered up her “Polar Vortex-Mex Hot Dish,” featuring a spicy mix of beef, pork and chorizo.
Bachmann then piled her bowl high with ingredients from her compeititors.
Like the offerings of Walz, Franken, Kline, Klobuchar, Paulsen and Bachmann, the entries of Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison seemed focused on the major food groups of any good Minnesota hotdish - fat and sugar.
You can read Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson's take on the Hotdish competition's recipes here.