Saturday, June 7, 2008

What I Learned Today

I cooked in the Eagle Mountain Pony Express Days Cookoff. I did it last year, too, and that was pretty fun, but this year was a total disaster. Part of it was that it was at a weekend that happened to be a very stressful one, personally, and so I had a number of distractions and setbacks. I ended up taking sixth place out of seven. Not good.

I do have to say, though, that it was VERY well run. Those that were in charge and those that did the judging did a GREAT job.

The biggest thing I learned is that I will never do another competition/cookoff again as a solo act. If I can’t get some help as a team, it’s not worth it. As a solo, you are working right on the edge the whole time. If something goes wrong (as did right off the bat this morning), you have some flexibility to adapt and work it. As a solo, you just have to roll with it, and you have very little room to work.

I also learned that when you coat salmon with blackening spices, you want to shake off the extra. I didn’t this time, and it was waaaay too spicy. Also, use a thicker cut of salmon. It’ll be more moist in the end.

The bread turned out great. The glaze even worked as I wanted it to. But I did it a little bit differently. I covered the top in whipped egg, and added honey to the glaze to make it thicker.

I also realized that with only a few exceptions, the most recent cooking I’ve been doing has all been big project meals and preparations for cookoffs. I’m weary, and I need to get back to cooking for fun for a while. Back to trying new things, back to learning new strategies.

Anyway. See you all next week!


  1. After hearing you placed 6th out of 7, I called around to find out who was 7th.

    The person that placed 7th had the highest points for their main dish... basically the best main dish. And you placed higher than he did. That's saying something.

    I would think placing dead last against those other 6 teams is still an accomplishment.

    It sounds a lot like you are like me. I don't care if I place first or last... if don't feel like I did my best and if I'm not impressed with what I've done, I've failed. We are our hardest critics... hardest judges... we are too tough on ourselves.

    So... take some time to put the fun back into cooking. Keep impressing your buddies. Come to a DOG event or two and sit back and socialize.

    Of the 60 to 70 members of Storm Mountain, only about 10 really compete. The rest just enjoy the hobby.

  2. Yeah. I need to just relax and have some fun instead of pushing myself so hard so much at once.

    Pushing yourself to excel is a good thing, but I think that works best in waves.

    Thanks for your friendship and support Ranes.

    And thanks for the use of your table, too!


  3. Having only done one cookoff -- and that a people's choice -- I may not be able to completely understand. But it is a competition, and although you may learn to relax and enjoy yourself more with each new contest, it's still a competition.

    I'm sure you'll never completely relax. What happens is you become more confident in your skill and ability to produce a winning product.



Related Posts with Thumbnails