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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Air travel woes

I'm betting the Pillsbury Bake-Off folks are mighty anxious in the face of the many flights being canceled by American Airlines. More than a quarter-million people have been affected in just the past few days as federal regulators step up their inspections of aircraft electrical systems. Dallas, where the Bake-Off action begins tomorrow at the Fairmont Hotel, has been hit by the double whammy of violent storms in the past few days. Dallas is also a major American Airlines hub.

I'm flying Continental, which I consider to be the best among all the airlines. I'd like to hope they've kept up their required inspections, but there are no guarantees they won't be the next to have flights grounded.

I've got a call in now to the Bake-Off headquarters to see if there's a Plan B. Since they are flying in 100 contenders and probably half that many food writers, I'm guessing they've thought of almost everything.

The actual cooking competition is Monday when 100 men and women from all over the country step up to the compact kitchens they've been assigned and begin preparing their recipes. So Bake-Off organizers have a time cushion to work with. But the Saturday and Sunday festivities for the 100 finalists are a big part of the treat for becoming a finalist.

For nearly 60 years, the Bake-Off contest has revealed what's hot in the nation's kitchens. It's given food lovers everywhere a glimpse of how American cooks and eats these days. I think our local contender, Linda Bibbo of Bainbridge Township, has a very good chance at winning the $1 million first prize. But I've looked through the just-published Bake-Off cookbook, which has all the recipes for this year's finalists, and can tell you all of them are very good.


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