Bake-Off fun facts
In 1980, Pillsbury officials couldn't reach finalist Gloria Ward of Mankato, Minn., who was spending the winter in Arizona in her travel trailer with no telephone. Pillsbury officials finally delivered the message to the town's postmistress. She issued a community alert via citizens band radio. Luckily, Ward had her "ears" on.
Dottie Due's entry arrived at Pillsbury headquarters with charred edges. The mail truck carrying her 1988 entry had caught fire, but the Post Office delivered the readable remains in a plastic bag. Good news for Due of Edgewood, Ky.: Her recipe, White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, won $2,000 at the Bake-Off.
In the early years of the contest, a pie baker placed her finished creation on the chair beside her range to cool before judging – then absent-mindedly sat on it.
During the 1992 cooking contest at Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort, a California contestant discovered that the pizza pan Pillsbury officials had given her wasn't right for her recipe. Pillsbury staffers whisked it away to Disney's metal shop, where workers "remodeled" it to the contestant's specifications. The pan was back on the floor in less than an hour.
NordicWare Bundt pan sales were always good, but in 1966 pans started flying off shelves after Ella Rita Helfrich of Texas took second place and $5,000 in the 17th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest for her legendary Tunnel of Fudge cake.
In 1949, Life magazine wanted a group photograph of the 100 final dishes in the first Grand National Baking and Cooking Contest. The magazine succeeded — almost. Someone couldn't resist and ate one of the desserts. The 99 others made the picture.
SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel reporting