Today at church we had a crock pot cook-off. Now, I can tell you with all certainty that I have never even considered entering any kind of cook-off. But, as the pastor’s wife I felt like there was no way to avoid entering a dish, especially since it was a fundraiser for our missions team.
Cooking, you might say, is my kryptonite. It isn’t that I can’t cook. Or even that I hate it. It’s just that I have six things that I make, and that’s about the extent of it. Thankfully, for non-cooks, the crock pot is an essential tool, so I at least felt like I was turning to an old friend for support as I entered food that I had cooked into a competition. Even typing those words now makes me shudder a little inside. Trust me, I submit my food for judging every time I cook. The judges are three children that share my last name. And, let me tell you, the reviews are pretty bad.
Nevertheless, I cooked. I set my food before a hungry post-church crowd. And, I cringed when some sweet ladies put a sign in front of my crock pot with my name on it. There it was, plain as day. It said something like, Melissa Edgington made this, and despite the fact that any child can cook in a crock pot, this may or may not be edible. So, maybe it wasn’t EXACTLY that, but it felt like something similar.
Mason jars were placed by all of the crock pots so that people could vote with their money. I watched nervously as my jar sat empty.
We all ate and ate and ate. There were some incredibly delicious crock pot creations. The mason jars began to fill with dollar bills. And, before long, one of the deacons started announcing the winners.
First place went to a woman who can REALLY cook. Not just in a crock pot, either. I wasn’t surprised that she took the blue ribbon. When he announced that I won second place, I felt like I was accepting an academy award. I couldn’t help but feel like maybe this whole crock pot thing was a chance for us non-cooks to shine. Most of the super cooks were probably going, “Uh…what do I do with this crock pot? I should be baking my own bread right now or making my own homemade taco shells.” Meanwhile, all of us mediocre chefs were thinking, “OK! Crock pot! I can DO this!”
I’m not really sure if the money in my jar was related to the flavor of my meal. Maybe they were sympathy votes. Maybe people were trying to be supportive of the poor non-homemaker homemaker that their pastor married. And, it could have had to do with the twenty dollar bill that my husband tossed into my jar. He supports me when it really matters. Like when my noodles are subject to scrutiny.
Third place went to another non-cook. We laughed and laughed about the irony of our winning. She taught children’s church today, and she gave all of the kids a dollar to put in her jar. Smart woman.
Today was a victory for non-cooks everywhere. I’m thinking about wearing my red ribbon on a chain around my neck for a few weeks.
It was a good day. I think the next time my food gets poor reviews at our dinner table I’ll just pull out my red ribbon and remind them that they are being served by an award-winning chef.
That ought to quiet down the rabble.
Until then, if you need me I’ll be in my kitchen looking in my empty fridge, wondering if I can get away with serving hot dogs again. After all, all decorated chefs need a break from their greatness now and then.