Dutch Oven Cook Off

Each year, Troop 30 puts on a dutch oven dessert cook off. Most years it consists of the various patrols of Troop 30 (somewhere around 10) competing amongst themselves. Occassionally a few other troops send a patrol in to add to the confusion. Neil and I have been invited to judge the creations for about the past 4 years.

Monday night was this year's contest and a right-fitting activity for Family Home Evening. The rules are always a bit sketchy - this is the same troop that puts on a weekend campout as its recruitment activity which includes the Dirty Derby - so rules are generally left to rule themselves. The patrols were told to begin their cooking at 6:30 with judging happening at 7:45. We had 5 judges and we were handed a wad of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons - enough for 6 categories. The categories were left for us to determine.

Having been through this a few years, I knew more or less what types of desserts to expect. There is always the array of fruit cobblers and the devotion to chocolate. Occassionally, someone combines the two and there is always the one creation that reminds you that these are, after all, 11-18 year old boys.

We walked past all the tables while it was still light enough to see the displays and get some basic information on the desserts. Then the boys were called away for their OA call-out ceremony while the judges went back for the taste tests. The only way to get through this many desserts without going into a diabetic coma is to truly just take a taste. Some are so good you want to take the dutch oven and run and a few make you want to throw up just looking at them. There was one this year that made you want to do both. The patrol called it Swamp Goo. The ingredients were mostly chocolate and caramel. It looked horrid and tasted divine.

However, there was one dessert that out-did the goo. Both in looks and I can only assume taste. As it turned out, this was the final dessert to be tasted for the evening. I don't know if I was just too sugared up from the previous ten or so desserts or if the idea of placing such a concoction in my system was just unbearable. This was the dessert that reminded me that the cooks are, after all, just boys. The dessert was deep-fried oreos. Now I have a friend who contends that you can deep fry anything and it will be considered edible. And since the other judges did actually taste this dessert, I can't exactly argue the point. But that is one dessert that I will never know how good or bad it truly was.

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