So, on Saturday, I had a very interesting experience. I was asked to be a field judge for the Eagle Mountain Pony Express Days Dutch Oven Cookoff.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'd participated in the cookoff the previous two years, and had interacted with field judges each time. Still, interacting doesn't mean the same as doing.
I read over the instructions and the judging criteria the night before. They had all turned in their recipes. Part of what I was supposed to do was to make sure that they cooked their chosen recipes in a safe and correct way.
Actually, that's not entirely true. My job was to watch them do it and mark them down if they did it "wrong". It seemed that all of the criteria in the scoring was based on messing up. I thought that was strange. They got 3 points in each of five categories. The highest score was defined as "satisfactory", and the others were things like "Needs Minor Improvement", "Needs Major Improvement", and "Don't Eat Their Food". There were no provisions for someone doing something exceptionally well.
That would have made my job much easier. See, the teams all knew what they were doing, and did a pretty good job of it. So, with a few minor exceptions, they all did "Satisfactory". So, how am I to distinguish?
But it was a lot of fun. I got to know some good dutch oveners, and it was fun.