Saturday, 3 September 2011

Judge Zeddy

Last night, I drank beer rather than wine.  I was cooking a fish curry and lager seemed appropriate.  I checked the label: 1.8 units.  That is a really quite annoying level of alcohol - one is not enough and two is too much.  So tonight I'm drinking red wine, a proper drink.

The Domestic part of the show schedule read - Lemon Drizzle Cake, 3 Cup Cakes, decorated, 5 Choc Chip Cookies, 5 White Bread Rolls, 5 Cheese Scones, Jar of Jam, Jar of Marmalade, Jar of Chutney, Jar of Pickles, 6 Eggs, A Jug of Summer Drink (non-alcoholic) and Gentlemen's Class - Fruit Crumble.

I shall repeat that list with, as far as I remember, the number of entries.

Lemon Drizzle Cake (10), 3 Cup Cakes, decorated (0 - I know darlings, none, its not that sort of village, evidently), 5 Choc Chip Cookies (5), 5 White Bread Rolls (2), 5 Cheese Scones (about 8), Jar of Jam (8), Jar of Marmalade (5), Jar of Chutney (11), Jar of Pickles (1), 6 Eggs (1, unusually.  Usually it's a popular class), A Jug of Summer Drink (non-alcoholic) (3) and Gentlemen's Class - Fruit Crumble (9).

Marie and I sampled every one, except the eggs, one of which we cracked into a saucer and examined for quality - there may have been only one in the class, but it still has to be worthy of first prize, which it was.  Perfect, new-laid and lovely colour, inside and out.  In almost every class, we had to sample several of them at least two times before we were sure we had made the best choice.  With the jams, we couldn't decide between two good damson jams and gave them equal third place.  We also gave an additional prize somewhere else, can't remember where, think it was two equal seconds.

At some point, when we were earnestly debating the merits of different examples, I said "This would be a damn silly way of earning a living, if we were actually being paid!  But of course, that it's all for fun doesn't make it not important.  There was only one entry in the pickle class, but we tasted it anyway, and it was excellent, a lovely cucumber pickle that I took a second spoonful of because it was so good.  The chutneys were hard going.  We left them to last, there were a lot of them and there wasn't that much to choose between them, all nice but none exceptional, and we were tired of tasting and the jam had taken its toll.  After all decisions were made, of course, it was time for lunch.  I didn't eat much.

Al will be on a different postal round next week, because the person whose round it really is has returned from long-term sick leave.  He will be on a bike.  In town, new round to learn, different day off.  His van needs a new exhaust, so he's borrowing my car on Monday.  It's rather bigger than he's used to (an elderly Mercedes estate car) so we will take a spin round the village tomorrow to get him used to it.

P.S.  A query about how we judge the eggs, which is on appearance only -  The eggs are fresh, raw and in their shells.  We don't eat them, we look at them to see if they match well in colour or size (if all from the same breed, they don't have to be), then crack one onto a plate and look at it again.  A really fresh egg has the yolk sitting well up on the white, which isn't watery.  Ideally, there are no white spots or red streaks on the yolk, but there's a bit of luck involved there, one might crack the only egg with an imperfect yolk.  Oh, and the shell has to be strong and crack neatly.

13 comments:

Tim said...

Um, hang on, only two bread rolls? And one egg? (Was it cooked or raw?) And what ... oh no, much as I try I can't unravel the set theory of this. But it does sound like fun, albeit with built-in flatulent potential.
BTW, I had chili con carne this evening. Just thought I'd mention that.

Macy said...

Indeedy red wine is a proper drink - and, best of all, one which comes with no alcohol label attached!

john.g. said...

After reading the ingredients,I really wouldn't worry about the alcohol!

PixieMum said...

Does your village have craft competitions.

Apparently our local garden association does, I didn't know, but could have entered something.

Maybe next year?

Z said...

There were two entries, the class was five home-made bread rolls on a plate. We cut a roll in half, carefully examined it for quality of crumb etc, then cut a piece each to taste. I've updated the post to explain about the eggs. And on any other night, I'd enjoy chili con carne. Tonight, I toyed with some fish.

I had a couple of glasses of red wine and didn't give any thought to the alcohol. And yes John, my own fault for drinking bog-standard lager.

I don't think so, Madeleine - it's the next village in fact, though I have belonged to their gardening club and WI. This was, of course, flower and produce as well as cookery, also photography and paintings. I never have made anything of a quality to enter into a craft competition, the WI group of several societies used to hold (maybe still does) an annual show and the quality was extremely high, professional standard, for the knitting and sewing. I did well with my lemonade and sloe gin, though.

Tim said...

Sloe gin? Now you're talking. I'll stick a picture of my grapes on tomorrow, grape vodka in the offing.

Christopher said...

Were competitors excluded during the judging process? I ask because wife No. 1 used to be heavily involved in this kind of thing and competition among the dames of the SWRI (Scottish Women's Rural Institute) used to be pretty cut-throat and no blandishment nor threat was too gross to sway the judge, particularly if he/she was local. Eventually entrants were required to leave the display tent or hall while the judges made their choices. Entries were identified with little cards with the name of the entrant folded down. Noble work, Z. I remember wife No. 1 being aghast at only receiving 3rd prize for a breakfast set for the late Princess of Wales consisting of bed-jacket, embroidered tray-cloth and napkin, porringer coaster, egg and tea cosies and honey dribbler made of two contrasting woods. Argument raged for weeks. They're all probably in Rog's warehouse now.

Christopher said...

PS: Sorry, I meant to add for Tim's benefit that I have in the kitchen cupboard a carminative called Wind-Eze that I'd be happy to lend him on request.

Z said...

That reminds me, my Seville orange vodka must be nearly ready. I'll have a taste soon.

I have to wonder what won first and second prizes?

When I arrived, just before exhibitors were to leave the hall, a couple of people were still perfecting their display, so I turned my back and spoke to someone at the door so I wouldn't risk seeing which was their entry. They are all scrupulously fair and wouldn't dream of showing unseemly ambition. Most of the organisers do join in the competition, but they get on with getting lunch ready and so on.

Z said...

Since I am a laydee, there is no question that I might be afflicted with flatulence. Wind-Eze is a splendid name for the remedy, though.

Christopher said...

1st and 2nd prizes were won by identical breakfast sets, but presumably better stitched/crocheted/whittled or whatever. There were something like 9 entries. All I believe were sent to Clarence House.

That of which you write I could not possibly impute to you. My idols have no feet of clay, certainly not of kaolin. The Wind-Eze was for Tim.

Marion said...

I clearly remember when you judged last year. I can't believe another year has come and gone so quickly.

Z said...

Oh no, I appreciated that you meant Tim. I was reassuring him and remarking on your splendidly-named remedy. Clay/kaolin, how very neatly you turn a compliment, dear heart.

I rarely blog anything new any more, Marion - I did indeed write about it last year. And the year before!