It’s official. Last week I received my formal letter from the Iowa Egg Council notifying me that I am a finalist for their egg recipe cook-off to take place in Des Moines next month. Out of nearly 200 entries I am one of five finalists in the adult level; there are five finalists at the student level. The ten of us will have to prepare/plate and serve our recipe in front of judges and spectators as we vie for generous cash prizes.
I’d noticed their ad calling for original recipes using eggs in the Food Section of the Cedar Rapids Gazette back in February. I can’t help myself: I love to enter cooking competitions every now and then. I’ve managed to earn second and third placements in a couple of competitions in the past, and I’ve taken first in a couple of others.
At this time I cannot share the recipe, but I can tell you I will be competing in the entrée category with a recipe that requires 6 eggs. We were to submit an original recipe creation of our own and we had a limit of 12 ingredients for it. The egg content only had to count as one ingredient.
I read cookbooks. I’ve done this since I was little. I think the word for it is inherent. It won’t surprise me if I ask them to wait with the last nail on my coffin someday:
“Can’t you give me just one more day? I didn’t get a chance to make that black-bottomed pie yet . . .”
You could say I’m obsessive when it comes to cookbooks or clipping recipes. There are 4 wide shelves of cookbooks down in our kitchen and big accordion folders full of “want to make someday” clipped recipes. It really is an addiction, but I can think of far worse so I don’t let it bother me.
Writing can stir up a nervous energy in me that borders on hyperactive, and the best way for me to funnel that into something manageable is to involve myself in a different kind of creative project for a while. This is where the dirt flinging and yard work–or communing with the mixer, measuring spoons and a cookbook comes in handy.
It’s interesting that in both writing and cooking, you really end up being in competition with yourself. You might give it your best try the first time around, or what you think is your best, and somehow it doesn’t read right, or it doesn’t turn out like the picture in the cookbook. So you try it again, and the results seem to be a little better this time. You’re encouraged, but you want to change a few more things and give it yet another try, and so it goes–a new business article, the personal essay or a novel–soufflé, crème brulee, or the healthiest chocolate chip cookie around.
I am so pumped for this upcoming cook-off! I plan to have fun with the whole event. I also intend to give it my best shot.☺
Author’s note: The cake pictured in this post is a birthday cake I made for my husband a couple of years ago. Looks perfect, doesn’t it? Guess again—it was the worst tasting cake I’ve ever made in my life. Give me ordinary white flour over ‘cake flour’ any day!