Food for thought 9.14.18

(Sept. 14, 2018) Conclusion has finally come to the forefront.

I traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Recipe Contest semifinals. The other contenders were from Texas and this local girl was going to prove she also knows her beef.

I grew up in Washington, D.C., but it has been a long time since I have actually driven to South East where the contest was to be held. But I was not worried, I googled my map instructions and also had my GPS.

I passed by the old RFK Stadium and knew I was getting close. It was sad to see the arena standing in such a dilapidated condition. I have been there many times and could almost feel its “spirit.” I am really at a loss for words except to say it is such a shame.

I said goodbye to RFK Stadium and focused on getting to 136 N Street, S.E. To my dismay, my printed instructions were not a match for the unexpected “detours.”

My “guide” from the GPS was having a bad day and kept telling me I had arrived at my destination when I knew she was incorrect. I pleaded with her, I repeated the address, I even yelled at her, but it was to no avail.

I approached a Capitol Hill policeman for directions and I guess he sensed my panic and frustration. To my surprise, he escorted me to the event. I do not know his name, but I am eternally grateful.

Once I arrived at my true destination, Sutter Home representatives greeted me most graciously. The temperature was 98 degrees with the threat of thunderstorms. We were allowed to start to setting up at 3 o’clock. Space was tight and my station was right in front of the judges.

One of the contestants introduced herself to me. She was very cordial and informed me she had her own cooking show and traveled extensively entering cooking contests.

My fellow competitor asked if this was my first competition? I told her yes and she asked me how many times I had applied for this particular one.

I told her this was the first time and she was shocked. She said it has taken her years to reach the Sutter Home’s semifinals.

We talked for a bit and she said something that I thought was quite interesting. “Every semifinalist is a winner. On any given day, anyone of us could win depending on which judges are selected. Stay true to your creativity, do not worry about what they are looking for, and keep entering competitions.”

I want to thank her for her words of wisdom, I will always remember it.

The contest started a little late due to the weather. Our tables were pushed back even further and our space got even tighter. It was pouring down raining and lightning, but you simply had to endure it. A little Sutter Home’s wine helped the cause.

Before the competition started, all of us were nervously pacing in our cooking arena. But once the event started, everyone seemed to be in their own groove. I wasn’t the least bit nervous.

In the end, I did not win but this was an incredible learning experience for me and I will use this knowledge to help me in future competitions.

Sutter Home Winery put on a lovely event and I am so proud to have been a part of it. The semifinalists received wonderful gifts for our efforts, which added to the festivities.

I am already thinking about next year’s contest and know the direction I will go. I am determined to take home the grand prize. But one thing is for sure, I do not want any more ground beef for some time. Weeks of practice has “burgered” me out.

A vegetable crudité sounds so delicious and is a perfect appetizer for Sunday football. It is easy to prepare and can be served with an array of dips.

If you are pressed for time, store-bought hummus is perfectly acceptable and pairs beautifully with your garden of goodies.

The art of entertaining is predicated on your personal style and cooking abilities but you also want to have fun. A vegetable crudité accompanied with hummus frees you from the kitchen and is sure to score a touchdown with your guests. Enjoy!

Vegetable Crudité with Hummus


Assorted vegetables such as radishes, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, purple cauliflower, bell peppers, pepperoncinis, artichokes, fresh herbs and edible flowers. The choice is yours, just make sure you get the freshest vegetables possible.

Homemade or pre-made hummus (amount will depend on the quantity of vegetables)

1. Artistically arrange vegetables on a plate or platter. Serve with a side of hummus. Remember, the artistic presentation is just as important.

Secret Ingredient – Perseverance. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

– Japanese Proverb

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