The Dukes of Des Moines Win 40 Ribbons, as Rival Chefs Boil

UPDATED 09/15/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/15/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

Come August, says Thomas Duke, it can be "a little tough to get supper" around his Des Moines home. Seems strange: The Dukes have two kitchens, two ovens, two microwaves, two fridges and about 300 cookbooks, and the family loves to cook. Problem is, when the Dukes start cooking, a mere supper gets lost in the shuffle. Wife Bobbie and her four oldest just brought home 40 ribbons from the Iowa State Fair, and if that isn't an all-time world record, it should be.

At the fair—don't read this on a full stomach—Bobbie won for her spiced pear butter, cherry jelly, beef jerky, dried grapes, fruit roll, BBQ sauce, tomato butter, canned blackberries, ketchup, cheese-cornmeal muffins, carrot cake, and pecan pie; cherry, pineapple, apricot and gooseberry preserves; and pineapple, zucchini, gooseberry, rhubarb-blueberry, blackberry, apricot and ambrosia jams. Joshua, 13, won in ice cream, and Charles, 12, in elderberry jelly, pralines, noodles, popcorn balls, biscuits, cookie decorating and low sodium lasagna. Jeremiah, 10, got ribbons for his dill pickles, oatmeal cookies, applesauce, applesauce cake, low sodium spaghetti, pumpkin bread and whole grain muffins. And little Angela, 7, won for her low sodium salad dressing and rendered lard.

Any complaints? Yes. One competitor said Bobbie had too many kids.

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