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If you have never had the heavy burden of responsibility which is placed upon the shoulders of the judge of a pie tasting contest then there are a few things you probably should know, just in case this monumental task should ever fall upon your shoulders.
Personally, I had never judged any sort of cooking competition before, nor had I ever given it any serious thought. This changed a few nights ago while attending an event at my church. I was approached and asked to be a judge in the pie tasting. “Why not” I thought, “it cannot be that difficult.” Boy did I have a few things to learn. Please allow me to pass along my newly acquired knowledge so that you may benefit from it.
First, if you should agree to judge any cooking competition, in a small organization, be aware that all of the entries are prepared by your friends. Even if the entries are unlabeled and “blind” you must be prepared not to tread on any toes. I discovered this when I bit into pie slice number four. Number four was supposed to be a baked coconut pie but it tasted more like sour lemon, very sour lemon. Keeping a straight face was difficult, especially since I could clearly tell, from the eager face on the front row, that a good friend and fellow church council member of mine had prepared this pie. I managed to choke down the bite smile and nod appreciatively. Number four was not going to win but I was not going to tread on any toes either. “Delicious,” I croaked.
Next, it is very important to bring a cup of water with you when tasting various dishes. The number two slice of pies was also coconut, very good coconut as a matter of fact, but without water I had a difficult time getting past the coconut shavings. Even worse, the number three slice was Key Lime pie and, while it was pretty tasty, Key Lime pie has a taste which lingers and can impact the next piece you try to taste. Yep, no two ways about it, a cup of water is handy if you are taste testing several items.
Lastly, a note pad and pencil. Taste testing five slices of pie may sound easy but it really is not. You will need to take notes, especially when you have two other judges to compare with. In the end we all agreed on the winner, it was the slice of strawberry pie, hands down, that was easy, the second and third place winners though, those took some haggling among the judges. Having good notes came in handy.
The important thing is, in the end we managed to convince everyone that while, “all the pies were excellent and we had a very hard time selecting a winner,” none of the pies were really bad. I am sure I can justify that to the God some way or another. Ok, I’ll just ask for forgiveness, I still wish I had some water to wash the taste of slice number four out of my mouth even though, “they were all excellent pies.” (wink)
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