Athena Jumps Into the Rough and Tumble World of County Fair Junior Baking Contests

Here she is on stage making the peanut butter cookies she was practicing making earlier in the week, competing against a dozen other junior bakers. Athena’s cookies placed out of competition, but she was given a nice baking timer for her participation, and I will tell you without any fatherly pride inflation that her cookies, were, in fact, quite yummy. And then after this we went for fried fair foods and whirly rides, so it’s all good.

I have rather quite a lot of pictures from today’s fair adventures, so there’s more to come. I just have to, you know, do some real work first.

37 thoughts on “Athena Jumps Into the Rough and Tumble World of County Fair Junior Baking Contests

  1. Is a “nice baking time” similar to a high quality timer in this context, or is that like a “great jumping time” if one were jump roping?

  2. Athena should be quite proud. I may be able to cook all kind of foods for my family but I can’t bake cookies to save my life. They are either too mushy or burnt to a crisp and always taste weird. I can’t even do the “premade” ones without burning them.

    Now I have a craving for peanut butter cookies made by someone else.

  3. Sorry, Scalzi, I wasn’t trying to harrass. I actually liked the phrase “a nice baking time”, and wanted to see if that is what you meant and give credit. I love a baked good, and plan on having a nice baking time this weekend making some chocolate chip cookies.

  4. 1. There’s nothing wrong at all with a little “fatherly pride inflation.”

    2. She looks like a natural in the kitchen – perhaps a future career in the culinary arts is in the offing. (That is my “missed calling.”)

    Congrats, Mr. Scalzi.

  5. @ Thomas M. Wagner

    long distance projectile hurling record

    That reminds me of a scene in The Witches of Eastwick that was burned into my memory and subsequently damaged my enjoyment of cherries.

  6. Maybe it was the presentation. A Coke Zero with a Red Vine straw could have gien her extra points with the judges.

  7. Very awesome. I remember participating in county fair baking competitions as a kid. I got to bake mine ahead of time, though. Mmmm… now I want peanut butter cookies.

  8. Am I the only one who sees ‘Share this’ at the bottom of your blog and really, really wishes the sharing included Athena’s cookies??

  9. Helen @14: As long as it’s the baked variety, instead of the kind of cookies one usually gets through the web.

  10. Jamie said:
    “That reminds me of a scene in The Witches of Eastwick that was burned into my memory and subsequently damaged my enjoyment of cherries.”

    Heh, I watched that movie with the long-gone ex many years ago – he couldn’t handle that scene at all. After the movie was over, I walked outside to the fully laden cherry tree, picked a large bowl of ‘em, and savored every last one of ‘em all by myself :)

    Yes, Virginia, people can turn green…

  11. Hey, go Athena! The county fair in my neck of the woods is Lame Incarnate and has no baking competition, so I’m glad to hear that other parts of the country are still carrying on the tradition in fine form.

  12. I did dance recitals at the fair, but never tried a food contest. (Nothing more fun than walking around the animal barns in your ballet slippers)

    How many different foods on sticks did you try?

  13. That’s really cool. So was it a demonstration and she talked about making the cookies while she made them, or was she just making them? Your county fair is apparently very different from mine and I find this fascinating.

  14. (Prefacing this with the awareness that no snark is intended, implied, or suggested)

    To completely expose my lack of county fair knowledge: to “place out of competition” means what? I’m assuming it means she didn’t finish in whatever the top rankings are, but that phrase doesn’t make sense to me based on that definition: it’s either too cruel (she was out of the competition) or too vague given everything.

  15. Your posting this picture is one of many reasons I like twitter. If I try to explain why, it’ll turn to mush, so we’ll leave it that.

  16. Did you ever get any deep fried pickles? My wife, an occasional Southerner, says they must be chips, not spears. Now that I’ve had both, I agree.

  17. Next Whatever contest should include cookies baked by Athena. We’ll loook the other way on those pesky legalities.

  18. Good job for her first try–it is her first try, right?

    Hmm. Watch out for sudden symptoms of wanting to get chickens or rabbits. Then you know she’s got the Fair Disease. After all, when you show chickens and rabbits, then you have to be At The Fair All Day to take care of them, right? And yeah, then that means doing the flower arranging contest, and of course she has to compete in Presentations, and various static displays, and shoot, even though she’s not in Sewing, she can still fake it for Style Revue, right? And then there’s the judging contests, and, and, and….

    (just describing the logical procession of 4-H Fair Fever…)

    (and if she wants a horse…um…good luck)

  19. Yay, Athena! My son entered a lego contest this summer, and also finished without placing and received a prize for participation. Unfortunately, I was NOT able to sample his creation. Hmph.

  20. Nice! Sounds like a fun experience, even if she didn’t win. And hey, she still got to make (and presumably eat) numerous batches of cookies, which is just as good in my book. ;)

    And now I’ve got a severe craving for peanut butter cookies.. I may have to buy some milk and scrape up ingredients/bum them off my roommate.

  21. Way to go, Athena! It’s always good to have another baker in the world. Different ovens can really trip you up, even if you use a separate thermometer to check the temperature (it’s surprising how “off temp” they can be.) I baked a cake the other day in a different, darker, pan than I usually use, and it was over-done when I checked it five minutes early.

    (For those not involved, county and state fair competitions used to had out a blue ribbon (1st), a red ribbon (2nd), a white ribbon (3rd), and others got no ribbon. Lately there’s been a shift (sometimes) to a yellow(3rd) and white ribbons for those not in the first three.)

  22. Yay, Athena. You might have placed out of the competition, but you get props for just entering.

    The photo of Athena reminds me of my only foray into 4-H demonstration competition, when I was about 5th grade, at a 4-H field day in Southern California. I demonstrated how to make a baked apple, and I, too, didn’t win anything, but it was fun anyway, and I cherish the memory.

    That was also the day I first was exposed to yarn on the hoof (got to pet a sheep). Should have known then that I would turn into a knitter someday. :)

  23. Yea for Athena! But, shame on you for teasing us with yummy cookies without sharing the recipe. Now I’m hungry. :(

  24. I like Athena’s headband and look of concentration: very Iron Chef like! She looks like a future champion.

    Wait till next year!

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