Saturday, April 28, 2007
A Piece of Cake
Today was the ninth Georgia Strawberry Festival held in Reynolds. I haven’t been to all of them but I have attended most. The first one I remember really well. I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies at the Georgia Strawberry Beauty Pageant. I did not have a clue as to what I was supposed to be doing. I was hoping someone would train me or brief me as to what they were expecting me to do. I guess they assumed I would know. I don’t think I have ever even watched a beauty pageant.
Thankfully the only people who seemed to be in the audience that night were the parents and the aunts and uncles of the girls who were in the pageant. Since there were not many girls in the pageant there were not many folks in the audience. I was happy about that. But I found out quickly that there is a lot of dead time in a beauty pageant. The girls had to change clothes, the judges had to have their results tabulated and sometimes the girls were not quite ready for the next talent act. We had some local talent for me to introduce to fill in the gaps but we didn’t have nearly enough. I found myself on the stage time and time again by myself totally unprepared with the audience staring at me. I talked about everything I could think to talk about.
I got so flustered that I was introducing one contestant who was going to be doing an Oral Interpretation and I said, “Now we have Contestant Number 3 who will be performing oral…….” And I couldn’t think of the interpretation part. The crowd gasped as I embarrassingly disappeared behind the curtain just as the curtain opened on the poor girl about to do her interpretaton.
There was one girl who had a long last name that I butchered every time I tried to say it. When the judges finally gave me the final results and I realized that the girl with the long last name had won, I almost gave the Miss Strawberry title to a girl name Smith because I knew I could say it correctly. When I got home after that horrific night, I confidently told my wife that she would never have to worry about me being invited to be a MC at a beauty pageant again because I was worse than awful. I figured I had fallen out of the good graces of the Strawberry Committee after that night.
So I was a little bit surprised when Libby Bond asked me to be a judge at the Georgia Strawberry Cookoff today at the festival. Time heals a lot of wounds.
It dawned on me as she was briefing the judges on this event that I had never judged a cooking contest. My mind went back to the awful job I did at the Miss Strawberry Pageant. My friend Ed Grisamore, who happens to be a veteran celebrity judge for all kinds of contests throughout middle Georgia , gave me some advice as we were walking toward the auditorium today. He said the judging is a piece of cake (no pun intended) unless they appoint you to be a judge in the youth division. He said you have to have a poker face as you taste the entries and sometimes that can be difficult because the youth are still learning to cook. I got his drift.
When Libby announced during the judges briefing that I would be judging the youth my friend Ed smiled. I take that back. He laughed.
But the short of the story is I tasted more homemade strawberry desserts than I have ever tasted in my life today. And I never had to strain to use my poker face. Although I am not a veteran judge, I am definitely a veteran eater and a connoisseur of fine desserts. Everything I tasted was delicious. My biggest problem was just taking one spoonful or fork full or mouth full.
At the end they gave ribbons and cash prizes to the fabulous cooks who created these desserts who won this competition.
But I think I won today. I got to taste it all. And maybe I even got back in the good graces of the Georgia Strawberry Committee. You can have the beauty pageant job. I’ll take the strawberry dessert eating job any ole day.
This was definitely a piece of cake.