Wednesday, October 24, 2012

At the Country Fair

It was a perfect, crisp autumn afternoon.  We met Rebecca and her kids, and our first stop was to see Clara's blue ribbon for a perfect navy linen jumper.  Then we looked at the other ribbons from Rebecca's family (talented bunch). 

Clara's crabapple jelly on the kitchen table - before we left for the fair proper

Then, while Clara took my littles to see the pigs, Rebecca, Aden and I settled down to a serious perusal of the canning, baking, and produce displays.  As homemakers and gardeners, we were curious to see what got blue ribbons.  With the produce, it was fairly obvious:  biggest, or straightest, or most colorful. 

With the baked goods, there was a little snitch out of each one, but nowhere could we tell what exactly the judges were looking for (and furthermore, it was such a tiny little bite, was there only one judge?  And how on earth could that one judge remember a chocolate cake from 10 bites back and make a fair decision?).  And for the bread, I wanted to know what blue-ribbon bread qualities they were looking for:  a fine crumb, not too yeasty, nicely raised?  But what is nicely raised when bread recipes vary so much?

I wanted to be educated by observing the prize-winners.  Maybe I need to get installed as a fair judge so I can get insider knowledge on the judging guidelines and some free cake.

We didn't even buy any fair food because we're on austerity measures and it was getting close to suppertime anyway.  But I regret it now.  What's a fair without something hot and fried in your hand?

It's a walk in an open-air museum on a gorgeous day with people I love.


Lisa said...

I'm sure you would make a good judge - you should look into it.

Melanie said...

Oh lovely! Thanks for this post - I love the pic of Aden ;-)

Rebecca, I want to see pictures of these award-winning goodies!

Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

What a fun day.. I love fairs..[and I think you need to be a judge, and let us in they decide on a winner from all those goodies.]ha.
Proud you all had such a fun day together..Nothing like a pretty day at the fair, to share with a friend.

Anonymous said...

I live in northern Alberta, so I'm not sure if things are different in Canada, but I know that info can be obtained from our local government agriculture office on the official criteria they are looking for in country fair entries. There is a course that you take to learn how to be a judge of these things, and they would know how to go about it. I once read an article about it in our rural newspaper, and was surprised how it was done - it's not just the local ladies' favourites or anything like that! Yes I too think that it would be interesting! Sometimes on the backs of the little fair entry tags the judges will jot a couple word note on what the issue was. Shauna

Deanna Beth said...

At our fair the 4h cooking projects are judged in open judging, with the baker sitting before the judge, who is eating your project. Very educational.

Margo said...

DB, that is more what I had in mind. Does the baker know ahead of time what the standards are?

Anonymous said...

Nothing like fair time! And I loved the picture you posted of your daughter looking at the tractor! A CASE! J.I. Case was my high school's name. :o)