Friday, August 9, 2013

Not Your Mama's Butter Cream

Alas...I was not a Blue Ribbon Winner at this year's Tanana Valley State Fair. I entered a flourless chocolate cake (one of my specialties) and it won 2nd place. It's hard to be satisfied with 2nd place when you know it should have been Fair champion. I was robbed.

The really galling part of it all is the comment from the judge. Clearly this person is not familiar with what a flourless chocolate cake is. For those of you unfamiliar, a flourless chocolate is by its nature, dense, rich, almost torte like. It's not light and fluffy. It has three ingrediants: 8 eggs, 1lb chocolate and 2 sticks of butter. This ain't your mama's butter cream cake, and it is supposed to be more mouse-like rather than cake like.

From the judge:

Bake it longer? This is a cake that has to be cooked to precisely 140 degrees. A 1/2 degree higher and it turns to cement. In fact, it's best if undercooked by a degree or two.

Some people though, may argue that my less than Blue Ribbon win was due to a "Heather encounter" when I dropped the cake off at the fairgrounds. Highly doubtful but here's what happened.

First, no one at the ticket gate could tell me where the exhibit hall was. That's right, the people who work the fair did not know which building was which. Hmm. My tone could have been construed as, shall we say, surly. Inside my head I kept repeating, "Just be nice. Just be nice".

Second, once I found the exhibit hall there were apparently a number of things that I was supposed to have done to prepare my entry (get an exhibitor number, print out the recipe, etc). This is when the "encounter" happened. I had been searching the fair website for weeks trying to find this exact information, to no avail. So when the ladies at the exhibit hall rattled off this list of things that I did not have, I let them know in my best "tell it to the hand" voice that it would be helpful for this information to be made available ahead of time in a public, easy to find way. And gosh darn if only we had such tools available allowing us to disseminate public information in a quick way. Oh wait. We do. It's called the internet.

Okay, I didn't say all that but my tone was again surly (if not caustic) and I did say that I had expressly looked for the information on the website and it wasn't there. The ladies were certain that it was on the site and I insisted that it wasn't. Yes, insisted. 

Once I got home I double-checked the website because I was certain(!) that I was right. Well, um, what do you know, there was the downloadable handbook, with everything spelled out, in exactly the place I had looked before.