Repeat Finalist Develops ‘A Merry Recipe’ for National Festival of Breads Entry

April 12, 2019

Merry Graham's Story

By Mary Marsh

To some, baking is just a hobby, but to Merry Graham of Newhall, California, baking is more of an adventure — a wonderful challenge that pushes her to boldly go and try new recipes. Graham is one of the finalists in the Food Blogger division for the National Festival of Breads. This is her third time competing at the national event. Her recipe is a Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath. When it comes to baking, Graham is far from an amateur. Competitions like the National Festival of Breads are actually what sparked her interest in food blogging.

Graham developed her love for baking when she was in college in a baking course. They made “German Bread.” It was the hand kneading, the sweet yeasty aroma, and the cracking of the crust that sparked a love for creating this edible art. From then on, she never stopped baking. Graham began competing in cooking contests in 2009 and became hooked. She got her start in cooking and baking competitions with a simple Google search. She wanted to know how to win trips to other places, and she came across “contestcook.com,” where she found a vast array of baking and cooking competitions. This website offers food bloggers, international, little and big contests. This was how she found out about the National Festival of Breads.

Graham’s blog, “A Merry Recipe,” showcases her recipes and recommended ingredients. She actually started her food blog as a way to qualify for more competitions, as some of the competitions are only open to food bloggers. She sees her blog as a way to have fun, compete and to connect with bakers and food enthusiasts from around the world. Her readers and followers are those she had met through culinary adventures and on airplanes! Lastly, Merry blogs so that her family and friends can have an “online” collection of her recipes and experiences.

“It brings me joy to make homemade bread because it is such a showstopper!” said Graham.

“I have been watching ‘The Great British Bake Off’, and they feature ‘showstoppers’ so that is what I developed for my entry this year. I submitted seven recipes for this year’s contest and
 Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath is my favorite!”

One of her award-winning recipes, Curry and Chia Onion Buns, a finalist in the 2015 National Festival of Breads, was actually created while camping in Zion National Park. This added an extra challenge to making this bread. With temperatures soaring above 90 degrees and the extreme change in elevation, the bread rose beautifully. She is not afraid to try any recipe in any location! There is no item too daunting for this adventurous baker!

Besides baking, Graham is also dedicated to staying active by caring for her grandchildren, and heads to the gym with her husband to take exercise classes and swim. Graham is a believer that life is a balance, and divides her time between friends, family and foodie events.

Come check out the 2019 National Festival of Breads on June 8 in Manhattan, Kansas and get Graham’s full recipe for her Blackberry Ginger Speculaas Danish Wreath.