OSCEOLA COUNTY — The smells were great. The tastes were even better.

The annual 4-H Cookoff, hosted by the Small Animal Association, was held last weekend in Reed City, with kids from around the county, (and further afield), whipping up a storm in the kitchens of the Life Sciences room at Reed City Middle School.

The cookery began at noon. Judges were in place, with bibs firmly set and forks in hand. (It’s always a thrill to judge the 4-H Cookoff.)

Judging this year, were Neal and Diane Beach from the Evart and Marion Journals, Nicole Hornbaker Weiss, from the Voice, and Jim Crees, from the Pioneer Osceola Edition.

At 12:30 p.m., presentations began with young 4-Her’s explaining their dishes to judges and answering questions as they watched their fare being “put away” by the panel of four.

The offerings were spectacular — from Chicken and Broccoli, to scrumptious cheescake.

The Cookoff was more a privilege than a duty for the judges.

The dishes offered kept coming until a tired panel of judges could barely look at the next “project.”

When winners were announced in each category, everyone won.

It’s a simple as that.

And the biggest winners of the day?

The judges. Hands down.