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Apple Pie and Winning – two American traditions I love

Saturday was a good day. Perfect late summer weather. And I do mean perfect. I’m a summer girl, and weather has a huge impact on my mood. Nothing drags my energy level down faster than a cloudy, rainy day. But no clouds today, no sir. Sunshine, blue sky, light breeze (no sign of Ike this weekend).

Perfect weather for hitting the farmers’ market. And perfect weather for a pie baking contest. Oh yeahhhh.

My favorite farmers’ market, the Anderson Township Farmers’ Market, held its first annual pie baking contest yesterday. Entrants had to buy their main ingredient from a producer at the market (cool idea!), so last Saturday, I gots me a big basket full of lovely Jonathans from Backyard Acres (a local producer and apple grower who also brings Shadeau Breads to his stand. Awesome artisan bread), and starting thumbing through my apple pie recipes.

I adore cooking competitions. I like being pushed to pay extra attention to what I’m doing behind the stove. I don’t always win. I’m still a little bitter about a salsa competition at work a few months ago, where the winner was a fruit “salsa” served with cinnamon chips. No tomatoes in sight in that entry. I tasted it; it was good, but I would classify it as a chutney, not a salsa.

Now, I came in second, so you could say I won among the real salsa entries, but still. I much rather would’ve come in last in an all-tomato-salsa line-up than place second to a chutney. (I mean, I can do chutneys. I’ve got a cranberry chutney concoction that’ll knock your socks off. But this was a salsa competition, dammit. Okay, let it go, Karen, let it go….)

Yeah, you could say I’m a little competitive. But, really, the great thing about entering food competitions is that even when you lose, you still get to nosh on good eats.

So, anyway, back to the pie baking contest. I entered my Suhweet Caramel Apple Pie … and … drum roll … I won first prize! I was absolutely tickled over that trophy (below). It made an already really good day even better.

(I forgot to bring a camera to the farmers’ market (d’oh!), so I snapped a photo of the test run pie, along with the trophy.)

The most beautiful trophy ever.
The most beautiful trophy ever.

The nerve-wracking part - the crust - turned out juuuust right.
The nerve-wracking part – the crust – turned out juuuust right.

Grilled cherry & blueberry galette |

Tuesday 10th of July 2012

[...] beauty of a galette is that it’s pie without all the hassle. I’m a veteran of pie-baking contests, and even though I don’t compete anymore, it’s nearly impossible for me not to go all [...]


Tuesday 23rd of September 2008

Oh, I should add, there was indeed more than one entry in the contest. My own dad asked, so I figured others might be thinking the same thing ....


Monday 22nd of September 2008

Okay, Word-of-the-Day-Toilet-Paper-Man, you're on! Be it now known, in the interests of fair play, that pies aren't even my strong suit, and yet, I was victorious. (At the workplace competition this Thursday, though, I'll be wearing my trophy on a gold chain around my neck. Intimidation bling.)

Bill Brohaugh

Monday 22nd of September 2008

I am a veteran of the work cooking competition referred to here because, as SoupAddict acknowledges with disguised cringes, we once worked together in the same department at said workplace. My veteranship involved, at the time, entry into a general dessert contest. Who stood at the top? Who walked away with honors for his baklava (praised by even a colleague with deep native Greek connections)?

**sniff sniff** Yes, indeed. (Though Annie should have won with an incredible sugary concoction perfectly shaped as a peach, truth be told.)

Someday, Soupster, you and me, mano a mano (which means "hand to hand," and the best cooks create by hand, after all). We'll see who wins! We'll see who triumphs! We'll see who can humiliate me better than I can humiliate myself . . . ! (Hmm, need to work on my confidence.)