Despite the now obviously shorter days and an avalanche of food blog posts tempting me to heat the oven to roasting temperature, I can’t enthusiastically embrace fall until I take care of some unfinished blog business. I recently entered a few blog posts in the Orange County Fair Culinary Arts food blog competitions and ended up walking away with a couple first place ribbons for posts that then became division winners! Not only that, one of these winners (my “French Friday’s With Dorie” tome detailing my unfounded anxiety preparing Mussels with Chorizo), went onto nab the “Best of Show” award for the entire blog category.
This was the second year in a row that I entered Sis Boom Blog in the fair’s competitions and I’m sure it was no small coincidence that for a second year it was a Dorie Greenspan inspired post that coaxed the judges into giving me a prize. Last year’s musings on “Gerard’s Mustard Tart” won a blue ribbon too so you could say that Dorie is my good luck charm. Like her recipes, her writing inspiration never lets me down – so a special thank you goes out to you Ms. Greenspan! (How about coming to Vegas with me sometime lady?)
I was particularly happy that a post I wrote back in March excoriating the idiots who started a boycott against the annual Girl Scout cookie drive on the eve of their 100th birthday won the blue ribbon for blog post editorial. While it was not exactly free from controversy I really wanted to share the Thin Mint Cookie Scones recipe so decided to take the chance. I was relieved that the judges responded so well to it. I’m sure the fact that the fair itself was celebrating the Girl Scout Centennial had nothing to do with it! I swear I didn’t know.
At the last minute I decided to enter a jar of Lemon Carrot Confiture into the highly competitive Preserved Foods contest. “Jams and Jellies” is one very cut-throat fair category which features over a dozen divisions for just the fruit alone. My carrot confiture didn’t seem to fit any of the more established categories (stone fruit, strawberry, marmalade, etc.) so it was entered into the “other” category. Guess what? It took third place! My ‘other’ was the third best “other” at the entire fair.
I have yet to blog about this award-winning concoction although you can catch photo of it here as I used some as a topping for corn pancakes. As luck would have it, I managed to squirrel away one jar so when I can get a free moment to take a proper photo of it I’ll share the recipe of this third place award winning “other”. Soon, I promise!
I really have to give it to OC Fair Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Renee Fontes (seen upper left above) for putting together one fine program. I can’t even begin to imagine the number of moving parts involved in putting on a competition like this. And thank you Renee for acknowledging the role of food blogging in the Orange County food scene. Its hard to ignore we are in a digital age when even county fairs have blog contests!
As a Division and Best of Show winner I was invited to participate in the awards ceremony held at the at the Culinary Arts Pavilion one very hot afternoon in August. It seemed like a great excuse to take family and friends to the fair, force them to watch me receive a bunch of fancy ribbons and go on some rides. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the ceremony but I must say it was lots of fun to see and meet some of the genius canners and bakers behind some very extraordinary creations.
After the ceremony we took some time to enjoy some all the fair has to offer, which of course, includes corn dogs, fancy chickens, and merry go rounds.
(If you have a food blog and are interested in entering next year’s blog post competitions please drop me a line via my contact form and I’ll be sure you get a notification next year. Did I mention that winners get cash prizes?)