We won! My better-half and I are the 2012 Central Arkansas Dutch Oven Champions! We were absolutely taken by suprise when the final results were announced. I have never been more shocked in my life and am so proud to have turned in winning entries for all three categories.
We learned a lot from this experience. First, we were prepared. We had practiced preparing all three dishes outdoors and under the time limits of the competiton. We knew what equipment we needed and knew where evertything needed to be when we strated. Having enough coolers with lots of ice was critical and probably was what made the carrot cake stand up straight and tall.
Next, we had reasonable expectations. Our goal was to get each dish to the judges table on time and properly prepared (not burned!). All through the competiton, we had to remind eachother of that goal and not worry about anything else. When the stress level felt like our heads were going to explode, we’d tease eachother and repeat the goal.
Most importantly, we had fun. We were able to have fun with the other teams and had time and presence of mind to chat with the public. I have to admit that my chattiness with friendly folks was a bit maddening for Steve as he knew we were losing precious time. But I think sharing our joy of outdoor cooking in our black pots gave our hard work meaning. We weren’t cooking delicious food to impress judges. We were cooking to show off our equipment and skills so that others would ‘catch the bug’ of Dutch oven cooking.