The Association of Food Journalists announced the finalists for its 2011 awards competition — just in time for early Memorial Day vacationers to ignore it, I guess — and The Washington Post scooped up four nominations, including one for best newspaper food coverage.

The Food section was nominated in the category for newspapers with circulations of 200,001 or larger. The other nominees include the food sections of the Chicago Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle, for those keeping score, took home the James Beard Foundation Award this year for best food section, beating out The Post’s.

(A side note to AFJ: Yes, we noticed the circulation drops in the various categories this year; last year, for instance, the largest food section category called for circulations of 250,001 or larger. Sad, isn’t it?)

Anyway, other Post nominations include one for former staff writer Jane Black, who’s a finalist in the best newspaper food feature (for circulations of 172,001 and larger) for her story on Sean Brock . Food critic Tom Sietsema earned a nod for two episodes in his TV Dinners video series, including one on “Strasburgers,” those patties trying to capitalize on then-rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg.

Finally, All We Can Eat was nominated again in the best food blog category. AWCE took home the top prize in the 2010 AFJ awards competition. Black also won last year for her essay titled “Snob Appeal.” You can see all of last year’s winners here.

You can also see all the 2011 finalists here.