Monday, March 21, 2011

Madness in March at the Men’s Cook-Off...

The Los Gatos Ward has an annual Men’s Cook-Off and I have to admit that the food is always better than ward events with women providing the food.

Our ward has some talented male cooks. The Bishop is not exactly one of them but that never seems to impact the judges. Brent has this ridiculous ability to win despite his minimalist approach. It’s quite embarrassing.

First case in point: About a decade ago, Brent won 1st place at a Saratoga Stake Chili Cook-Off, basically on chili that consisted of opening a #10 can and pouring in catsup, BBQ sauce, Tabasco sauce, and I forget the 4th ingredient.

Brent didn’t really plan on being a serious contender but threw the chili together about 10 minutes before departure so he didn’t show up empty-handed. And, somehow, out of at least 20 pots of chili, his doctored-up-store-bought version won. Which felt really awkward when people requested the recipe.

Brent doesn’t quite understand that his chili shouldn’t really be eligible; I think he naively believes that “altering” prepared food still qualifies. Shameless! While Brent finds his winning streak humorous, I doubt the men who slave over complicated recipes would concur.

Second case in point: the mini ice cream sandwiches. A couple of years ago Brent was swamped on the day of the Men’s Cook-Off, so I whipped up some bite size chocolate chip cookies and filled them with ice cream. Again, it was just an effort to pitch in, not seriously compete against homemade apple pies and fancy creme brulee. But, of course, the pithy little treats were a hit and won the dessert category, much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of serious guy bakers in the ward.

Sticking with a good thing, and, in a touch of laziness, Brent’s been showing up with mini ice cream sandwiches for several years now, and sure enough, on Saturday night, they won again!

I’m kicking myself for missing a window of opportunity. On Saturday, when Brent took stock of ingredients around the house and mentioned the possibility of taking his green smoothie shake to the Men’s Cookoff, I immediately pronounced that a lame idea. So, naturally, Brent’s fallback was the mini ice cream sandwiches. What was I thinking? I should have heartily endorsed his morning shake as an excellent offering (ha!).

Because while some green smoothie shakes are delicious, Brent’s morning concoction tastes pretty terrible. Think Jamba Juice meets the compost pile! There is way too much kale, chard, flax, and unidentified objects for his breakfast drink to place at any cook-off.

So next year, I’ll highly recommend Brent’s green shake ...just to bring a touch of humility to my award winning cook/husband! He’s getting a little too proud of a creation that I invented in the first place. Seems we’ve created a “Cooking” (loosely defined) Monster!