By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
Most students may know Liz Rotenberry as a great exercise science professor, but she has a secret.
A secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies, that is.
Next week, Rotenberry will enter her chocolate chip cookies into the West Texas Fair and Rodeo, which will begin Friday and run through Sept. 18.
“It’s fun and interesting,” Rotenberry said. “It’s a learning experience.”
Rotenberry has entered different competitions in the fair with her mother in past years, with items like cookies, hand-cranked ice cream and other baked goods.
“My mother got me started,” she said. “She won with yeast bread when I was younger.”
Last year Rotenberry’s cookies took second place.
“I won first place once, but I don’t remember when,” she said.
Rotenberry said the fair is something she has enjoyed participating in every year, even when she was a young girl.
“It’s definitely a country thing,” she said. “It’s like being a part of what Abilene really is.”
She said her cookie recipe even goes back to her childhood days when it was given to her by Mrs. Paul Witt. She said she shared in cooking lessons with Witt’s daughter when she was in fourth grade, and though she may have tweaked the recipe a little bit since then, it’s the one she’s used since her school days.
“One of the best things, I think, about these cookies is you use Crisco rather than margarine because it makes the cookies fluffier,” Rotenberry said.
Cooking is not the only category that students can enter in the fair. Other categories include photography, sewing, gardening and painting. Rotenberry said students are bound to find something to enter in that interests them.
Students can also participate in the fair and rodeo by volunteering to work in different booths, said Janice Armstrong, administrative coordinator of the Agriculture and Environment Department.
Students from the department will help in booths run by the Texas Farm Bureau called “Planet Agriculture.” Their main job is just to be there and be knowledgeable about cotton, wheat and cattle, Armstrong said.
Another group of students will help in Food and Fiber, an exhibit for elementary school kids, she said, and two students usually help with the rodeo as well.