Last weekend I had the opportunity join in a friendly Dutch oven cook off for a state outdoor club. I won the same competition last year, with roasted rosemary chicken (drummies, thighs, breast pieces) and vegetables. When I say friendly competition, I mean friendly. I even loaned a few competitors equipment that they needed.
Well, actually it wasn’t so much “folks” as men, except a girlfriend who was assisting one competitor, plus me and lovely Jessica, shown hard at work here. Somehow playing with fire does seem to be men’s game more than women’s, although I’ll never understand why.
Competition in entrees was strong this year, with no flubs and a lot of good food, as I understand it. The judging was apparently very, very close, with only a few points dividing most of the competitors. The entree winner was—–drumroll please!———Mr. Homesteader. Ugh. He’s kind of a sore winner, a bit obnoxious about it. It’s okay; at least we’re keeping the title in the family!
I heard afterwards from two judges what kept me from winning: garnish (ah, if only I’d clipped a few fresh sprigs of basil from the garden!) and the fact that, by the time they judged mine (which was after a dozen other entries), the lasagna was not piping hot. Next year, I’ll serve straight out of the pan, like I did last year. Anyway, you too can make whole-grain lasagna while you’re camping! And, yes, that’s a little slice of flatbread with tomato, cheese, and fresh basil, also from a Dutch oven.
Have you ever competed in a cook-off of any kind? What’s the dish of which you’ve been most proud, either in competition or at a potluck or big family gathering?
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