[Sca-cooks] OOP: NY Times article on State Fair foodcompetitions

ysabeau ysabeau at mail.ev1.net
Wed Aug 16 06:33:09 PDT 2006

Way back when I was in high school (1982), I moved to a tiny South 
Texas town (from Singapore of all places!). I took Home Ec because 
it was one of few electives offered. One of the class requirements 
was that we had to enter something in the county fair home ec 
competition. I half-heartedly made up a couple of loaves of Dilly 
Bread (batter bread made with cottage cheese and dill IIRC) and 
entered it. When it came time to check out who won, I wandered all 
over and couldn't find my entry...because it had been put in a 
place of honor - I'd won grand champion something or other! What 
was interesting was reading the judges comments...one said the 
crust was too dark, another said it was too light, one said it 
needed more dill, another said too much dill. 

It was my one and only time to do something like that (I don't do 
A&S events) and it just confirmed my belief that you can't please 
everyone...and opinions are just that. I do what I do to please 
myself and my friends. What was even funnier was that my good 
friend had been entering for years because she grew up there and 
never won anything...and I just popped into town and threw 
something out there and won. I don't think she ever quite forgave 
me for that. I truly think I won because I made something a bit 
different...instead of just the same old, same old and they didn't 
know what to do with it. All of the other entries seemed to be 
variations on a theme - tons of pumpkin bread, banana bread, etc. 
Mine was the only one that was "out of the box" but it was 
something I'd been making for years.


---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Reply-To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2006 09:18:02 -0400

>I am sure that part of the problem is the fact that farm wives 
>jobs off the farm. (For that matter many farmers these days hold
>down full-time jobs off the farm and do the farm after work and on
>weekends.) My grandmother canned obsessively. She also kept a 
>that ran into acres and they would travel to various orchards and 
>fruits to can and freeze. It was a way of life and for those that 
>it through
>the depression it was second nature. (She never owned an electric 
>washer or
>dryer either.)
>My mother was an RN, so she never gardened nor canned. Between 
>to work
>and back plus never getting off on time or doing partial second 
>and being
>on-call on days off, she didn't have the time to can. You'd often 
>her in the
>field helping my dad with harvesting or hauling in or planting 
>Those in town don't have the big gardens anymore either. 
Competing in the
>fairs is also akin to being in A&S. It takes awhile to learn what 
>judges want
>to see. I used to get asked to judge in 4-H competitions. It's an 
>We always wanted to see cookies that filled the plates. They had 
to be 
>the same size
>and the same color. They had to crumble just right.
>This meant that maybe the entrant had to often bake 3 or 4 batches
>to get that perfect 3 cookies to put on that 6 inch plate.
>I have thought about entering the local community fair here in 
>but it's also the week before school and that's always a very 
busy week.
>They actually still select a Homemaker of the Year in this town, 
based upon
>things like cooking and canning and sewing.

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