[Sca-cooks] Display was A&S Entries

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 11 14:08:27 PST 2008

> Was written:
> Okay, but I often heard suggestions about putting A&S food entries
> onto fancy plates, perhaps in an intricate place setting with other
> food items and wine and so forth, even if the one item is all that is
> being judged, and not the entire place setting.
> So if all we are judging, why not just place it on a plain plate?
> And I've seen other A&S entries in other areas with all this extra as
> well, so it isn't only something suggested for food items. So whether
> Daniel was being snarky or not, I think he brings up a good question.
> Should all this extra stuff even be in an A&S display, and if it
> should be, how much is too much?  And is it truly the entry item
> being judged or is it the entire display?
> My response:
> It my contention whether we admit it or not tis all display.   We judge the 
> picture with frame that surrounds it.  It is how we think and how we are. 
> We gild the lily without realizing we do.  It is only noticed when it is 
> exaggerated.   I asked the judges to judge the hole and not the plank that 
> surrounded it.  They laughted and thought it a fine jest.
> Daniel

The over-dressing of a display is a personal pet peeve.  The Macy's Christmas Window approach makes me think that either the entrant is hoping to hide flaws with flash, or that I'll give extra points for packaging.  I find too much decoration distracting.  I've seen displays that were as much as 80% froo-froo, and only 20%
entry, and forced me to search through all the floral arrangements and
statuary on a kind of treasure hunt for the actual entries.

On the other hand, too little can also hurt a display.  Case in point: a friend once made white puddings for a competition, and displayed them on a plain white plate.  Some people thought they looked unappetizing, though they tasted great.  A different choice of serving dish would have enhanced the entry's presentation.  In her defense, she had forgotten the serving dish she wanted to use while hurrying to pack.   

His Majesty Gunthar's last Kingdom A&S entry was a meal for a 16th century officer dining in camp.  They layout was simple and appropriate to the meal, comprising a tablecloth, a nice piece of crockery to hold each dish, and the necessary utensils and napkins for tasting.  The display put the food in context which, if it affected my scoring on a subconscious level, probably affected how I judged his research of the time period in question.  It was an enhancement without being a distraction, which is what a display should be.  


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