Monday, October 20, 2008

Prize jams and jellies

I'm on vacation this week, so I'll miss the annual State Fair. I found these photos I took of the food judging a few years ago. I had a "press pass" so I was allowed to come in and observe. Fifty judges put their taste buds to work sampling homemade canned vegetables, preserves, cakes, cookies, breads, pies, mincemeat, salsa, pickles, ketchup and other edibles in nearly 500 categories.

Culinary superintendent Charlotte Wyatt told me the staff keeps plenty of cold water, coffee, celery and saltines on hand to help judges cleanse their palates between bites. Sometimes the cake tasters will give a few of their leftovers to the "pickle people" and vice versa, "just to give them a little change in their taste," she says. Unfortunately, some foods aren't in their ideal state. "I admire the judges who judge a cold biscuit," said Wyatt, with a laugh. No exhibitors or other people are present for the judging, although Wyatt says there's been some talk of letting the culinary exhibitors watch the judging from behind glass.

I took these photos back before I had a decent camera. Also, the flash issue was a problem. Still, I like the image of the ladies, all in a row, sampling the cakes and cookies. Yum.

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