The National Festival of Breads baking contest is accepting entries, with a deadline of Jan. 31. Eight adult finalists and one youth finalist will be invited to bake their recipes in Manhattan, Kan., June 20-22. The top winner earns $2,000 and a trip to Vermont for a baking class at King Arthur Flour Inc. plus a year's supply of Fleischmann's Yeast, both of which sponsor the competition with the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. To enter, visit

Father Dominic returns

We were thrilled to see a new book from Dominic Garramone, the Benedictine monk in Peru, Ill., who once charmed audiences as host of the PBS cooking show "Breaking Bread With Father Dominic." There are no plans for another show, as yet, but ReedyPress has published "How to Be a Breadhead: A Beginner's Guide to Baking" ($16). While designed for novices, old hands also will learn from his tutorial on kneading and shaping. He is admirably humble: "The cookbooks I write are not particularly complex or profound," he writes, explaining that his niche is "to help people learn how to bake bread the way their grandmothers did." Bless his heart.

An Alsatian fête

The German and French Chambers of Commerce here are partnering for their annual holiday dinner, "Christmas in Alsace," from 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Germanic-American Institute, 301 Summit Av., St. Paul. The menu will include tarte à l'oignon, choucroute and Alsatian wines. Tickets are $40 for members and guests and $50 for nonmembers. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Hamel restaurateur honored

Congrats to Peg Rasmussen, owner of the Countryside Café and Catering in Hamel, who's been inducted into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame. Over 37 years, she estimates she's served more than 3 million meals at her 55-seat restaurant on the western edge of the Twin Cities. She also was one of 75 women named by General Mills to be part of the composite image of the Betty Crocker logo.

Sue Z. talks shop

Saturday's shopping gets a bit of sustenance when Gourmet Oil & Vinegar in the Shops at Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park features foodie icon Sue Zelickson in the store from 1 to 3 p.m. Zelickson will talk about Perspectives Family Center and the Kids Café while offering samples of her Lacey Sue Z. cookies. There will be appetizers with recipes at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m., and tastings of the store's 60 extra virgin olive oils and 60 balsamic vinegars. A portion of the weekend's sales goes to Perspectives Family Center.