When Frank Perdue heard that a group of food editors, writers, and judges, many of them old friends, would be in Salisbury, Md., for the Delmarva Chicken Cooking Contest in June, he decided to throw a Sunday brunch for them at his ranch-style home there.
Not your everyday backyard barbecue, mind you. This was a royal affair, with blue and white tents thrown up over blue and white covered tables on the patio overlooking the lawn, which eventually ends at the Wicomico River. The grass had just been manicured, and the newly planted marigolds added their brightness to the weather-perfect morning.
Catered by English's, known on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake as the professionals who can feed thousands of guests at the drop of a hat, the brunch was more than most people could handle, except to take a dab of this and a taste of that.
There was seafood in patty shells, fresh fruit galore, ham and beef, hot biscuits, fluffy eggs, fluffier potatoes, and of course some chicken. There had to be chicken.
Mr. Perdue, having just arrived from his apartment in Ocean City, Md., a half-hour before his guests, was filled in on the action of the day before, when a Maryland woman, one of 25 contestants, had won the 12-state-and-District of Columbia chicken cooking contest.
''Well, what was the winning recipe like?'' As a matter of fact, the first-prize recipe, Stuffed Chicken With Apple Glaze, was about to be brought from the oven, for everyone to have a taste.
Mrs. Ruth E. Dykes of Beltsville, Md., who had invented it, stood by to see if they had done right by her concoction.
Her recipe called for a whole broiler-fryer filled with store-bought stuffing mix, grated apple, grated lemon peel, chopped walnuts, raisins, and chopped celery. Her glaze was apple jelly, brushed on. And it was indeed delicious.
Wearing the white flower lei that had been draped over her shoulders the night before to symbolize her forthcoming trip to Hawaii - the main prize for the winner - Mrs. Dykes looked pleased as the guests sampled her recipe and applauded it.
The winning recipe follows. For a complete booklet with the 26 finalists' recipes and more, send a check or money order for $1.25 to Cookbook, c/o Delmarva Poultry, RD No. 2, Georgetown, Del. 19947.
The National Chicken Cooking Contest will be held in 1985, and the next regional Delmarva contest will be held in 1986. Stuffed Chicken With Apple Glaze 1 whole broiler-fryer chicken 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 tablespoons cooking oil Stuffing Apple glaze
Sprinkle inside of chicken with salt and pepper; rub outside with oil.
Place stuffing in cavity and place chicken in baking pan; cover loosely with foil.
Roast in 350-degree F. oven about 1 hour. Brush with glaze.
Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes longer or until leg moves freely when lifted or twisted, brushing frequently with glaze. Makes 4 servings. Stuffing: In bowl, mix according to package directions 1 package (6 ounces) chicken-flavor stuffing mix. Add 1 cup grated apple, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup raisins, and 1/4 cup chopped celery. Mix thoroughly. Apple Glaze: In small saucepan, place 1/2 cup apple jelly, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Simmer, stirring, 3 minutes or until blended.