The value of a recipe contest is threefold: Aspiring chefs practice their newly acquired recipe or cooking technique, taste test their new idea & skill on a wider audience, and learn that the blue ribbon dishes aren’t necessarily the best tasting.
My three chefs –in-training are happily learning self sufficiency, whether they want to or not. It’s a requirement that individuals learn to prepare enough food for a variety in their diet, and so that future in-laws are not blaming me for the lack of domestic skills training.
For this Dairy Recipe Contest, two recipes came from the Star Wars cook book. "Dark Side Sundae" which is very dark and very yummy. The other, "Ewok Eats" suggests eating the (again, yummy) dip with broccoli, is much as perhaps an Ewok might do. The final and best recipe of the day came from the back of the Velveeta Cheese Wrapper, Potato Cheese Soup. This soup was fabulous. We set aside the first half of the large pot for the contest and ate the other half for dinner.
My three chefs were pleased that in a room of more than 20 young chefs, all of their dishes were completely eaten before the judges returned with their verdict. So it seemed that we had winners, at least by the audience’s standards.
The judges filed into the room. The young chefs and family members were hushed as the anticipation of the awards became palpable in the room. Clearly, the judges were loving the attention because they gave lofty and long winded yet general opinions about the overall quality of the food.
“All the food was great.”
“You all try real hard.”
“Keep on Cookin’.”
“By the way, when I was young…”
Then, the moment everyone was waiting for… it was all I could do not to laugh out loud, as the worst tasting but prettiest displayed dishes won for the third year straight. As testimony that it’s not just my humble taste buds, all these dishes had plenty of left-overs after the feast was complete, and I wasn’t the only one to say, “Wonder what she put in that dish, bless her heart?” This is a nice Southern way of saying, “Ugh”. Apparently, the plate or serving dish far outweighs the taste-test in this contest.
Luckily, the audience opinion given by clearing our serving dishes was most important to my three chefs because they haven’t been tempted to buy dishes but have continued to cook some very delicious recipes.