Home of Economy-Herald contestant Mallory Handford says 'I haven’t met a recipe I couldn’t conquer'

She’s being sponsored by her company, American Crystal Sugar Company.

Mallory Handford, of Grand Forks, is among the 16 contestants in the first-ever Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off, a tournament designed to highlight the region's best pie bakers.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — Mallory Handford acknowledges her tastes in cooking might extend beyond the norm.

“Have you ever had strawberries in sour cream and brown sugar?” she asked a Herald reporter during a recent interview. “I encourage you to try it. It’s strange, and it sounds really weird. But when you bite into it, and everything plays against each other beautifully, it melts in your mouth and you’re like, ‘wow.’ ”

American Crystal Sugar logo.jpg

Handford is among the 16 contestants chosen for the first-ever Home of Economy-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off, a tournament that’s set to take place later this summer with the goal of finding the region’s best pie-makers. Although she’s not yet convinced that she’ll enter anything as wild as a strawberry-sour cream-brown sugar pie, she does use that as an example of how her tastes sometimes dictate her direction in cooking and baking.

In a bio she sent to the Herald in advance of the contest, she said she’s been baking since she was young, and “I haven’t met a recipe that I couldn’t conquer.”

“I love making cakes and cupcakes,” she said in the bio. “I have dreamt of having my own bakery from time to time.”


In a subsequent interview, she said, “it’s a little bit of a pipe dream.”

“It would be fun and interesting. I like making people love things,” she said. “I would put together things that you wouldn’t normally find. You wouldn’t find lemon meringue or key lime in my shop. You’d find way weirder things. I have a feeling there is a market for that.”

Handford, a Grand Forks mother of two, is a PT3 – process technician 3 – at American Crystal Sugar Co.’s East Grand Forks plant. She’s being sponsored by her company, American Crystal Sugar Co. In addition to sponsoring Handford, American Crystal is supplying sugar to all of the bakers.

“It’s nice, and encouraging, considering the people who put me up for it have never tasted my baking,” she said. “I bake things for my shift, but the people who put me up have trust in me, and that’s really nice. It’s one of the good things about working at American Crystal Sugar.”

Handford grew up around baking – “always homemade, everything.”

“I grew up in a house where we always baked pies, baked cakes, baked cookies from scratch,” said Handford, whose sister in Texas is a chef who specializes in pastries. “My mom was a stay-at-home mom for a long time and she made everything from scratch. She ended up being a single mother and had to work three jobs, but still found time to cook for us and bake for us.”

Homemade, she said, “is always yummier. … I always like the real stuff.”

She makes a good lemon meringue pie, she said – even though it’s not necessarily one of her favorites. She also is thinking about a rhubarb custard pie for the contest.


Pies, she said, aren’t necessarily her specialty.

“Honestly, probably cakes and cupcakes,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t make a good pie.”

Related Topics: GFH PIES
Korrie Wenzel has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald and Prairie Business Magazine since 2014.

He is a member of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. board of directors and, in the past, has served on boards for Junior Achievement, the South Dakota Historical Society Foundation, United Way, Empire Arts Center, Cornerstones Career Learning Center and Crimestoppers.

As publisher, Wenzel oversees news, advertising and business operations at the Herald, as well as the newspaper's opinion content.

Wenzel can be reached at 701-780-1103, or via Twitter via @korriewenzel.
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