There are people like John Micheal Lerma and Marjorie Johnson who are no longer allowed to enter the State Fair Blue Ribbon race, they're too accomplished, too drenched in the glory of many a Creative Activities win. And then there are the rest of us.
I'm not going to lie, I dream a little dream of Blue Ribbon fame and fortune. About this time of year, I download the MN State Fair Creative Activities Guide, the veritable rule book for any aspiring baker/canner/preserver/quilter looking to put a little shine to their name.
And then I get crippled, overwhelmed. I think maybe, maybe I could enter my peanut butter cookies in lot 1071, but what would it take to win? Should I add cardamom and a hit of ceylon cinnamon as a flashy way to stand out? But might that be too much, would the taster cringe as the word "overwrought" crawled across her palate? Pish-posh.
I think it's time to go big or go home. There are a number of sponsored contests you can enter that take ultimate guts, total committment to glory, which also happen to deliver a bigger payoff. So THIS IS IT home cooks, get your mixers fired up, boil those jar lids, and don't forget to pre-register. Fame and trips to Hawaii await.
C&H Sugar Cake Decorating Contest: Create a cake to celebrate Creative Activities and Handicrafts. 1st Prize: $100. ... OMG, I have to get my fondant working, wondering if I can somehow work in needlcraft, seed art, and weaving onto one cake.
Bake for the Cure with Fleischmann's Yeast: Bake any bread any style, breast cancer awareness themes and decorations encouraged. 1st Prize: $150 and $100 for whole grain, plus three grand prizes of $1,000 each!! BONUS: Fleischmann's will donate $10 to Susan G. Komen for each entry. ... All I can think of is how many booby buns will be entered.
SACO Foods' Bake Your Best Poundcake: They're looking for the best, most irresistible pound cake baked with some SACO products. 1st Prize: $150 ... Note cream cheese may NOT be used, you heathens.
King Arthur Flour "Great Cake Contest": Bake your greatest cake using King Arthur Flour and win. 1st Prize: $150 gift card to KingArthur.com, plus one Grand Prize winner will get the choice of a $500 shopping spree or an all expense paid trip to Norwich, VT for a complimentary baking class at the KAF Education Center ... I hear Vermont is lovely this time of year.
Make it with Malt-O-Meal Recipe Contest: New this year, make ANY food creation with ANY Malt-O-Meal cold cereal, let "your creativity in the kitchen run wild!" 1st Prize: $100. ... I feel sorry for the taster who will inevitably have to judge some Marshmallow Matey crusted salmon.
Ghiradelli Chocolate Championship: Participate in the championship with your most decadent chocolate recipe for a dessert or treat. 1st Prize: $400 & Ghiradelli gift basket. ... What goes better with baking chocolate than bourbon? I might own this.
Pillsbury Regrigerated Pie Crust Baking Championship: Contest now open to ANY dessert pie with Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts. 1st Prize: $200, plus chance to win the $5,000 Grand Prize selected from all winners nationwide. ... Now thems braggin' rights.
The Great American SPAM Championship: Mac & Cheese Best Recipe, enter your easiest, most creative and tastiest recipes featuring your favorite SPAM variety, macaroni, cheese, and up to seven other ingredients. 1st Prize: $150, National Grand Prize is a trip to the 2011 Waikiki SPAM JAM in Hawaii. BONUS: Kids age 7-17 have their own category, 1st Prize: $150, National Grand Prize $2,000. ... If you want to go to the Islands, don't even think of trying to hide the SPAM, 45% of the score is "visual & savory presence of SPAM products".
M.A. Gedney Company: Awards tops in the following categories: Best Dill Pickle using balsamic vinegar in conjunction with other vinegars; Best Hot Dill Pickle using fresh cucumbers with peppers such as chipotle, jalapeno, habanero etc.; Best Dill Pickle with Asian flavor; Best Sweet Mixed Vegetables; Best Sweet & Spicy Pickle Relish. 1st Prize: $100 ... There has to be some kind of points for best karaoke verision of the Gedney, It's The Minnesota Pickle jingle.