Last year the Indiana Dairy association had a contest: who makes the best mac and cheese? My husband tagged me in their post on twitter because we think I make some pretty sweet mac and cheese. So, I entered the contest. This was no easy thing because they wanted a recipe and I make food off of the top of my head most of the time. To make matters worse, hubby didn't think “any cheese without mold on it” was a suitable ingredient. So, it was really hard and I was not optimistic. For good reason, too. I lost. I wasn’t a finalist last year but I got 4 free tickets to the fair and a nice swag bag of consolation prizes.
Fast forward a year and the Indiana Dairy folks are at it again. Except this time its grilled cheese. I am not known for my grilled cheese prowess, in fact I seldom make them because my oldest child hates american cheese. But, our IN Dairy pizza cutter from last year’s swag had been left on the stove when it was hot so it melted and I thought to myself: “Self, we could spent $12 on a pizza cutter, or we could lose this contest and get one for free!” Obviously, I opted to lose the contest again. We have 4 kids and one income: $12 is a lot of money!
Imagine my surprise when, instead of a package full of swag, I get an email telling me I’ve qualified as one of 8 finalists! Hey, wait a minute. I just needed a new pizza cutter here. This is bananas. Never in a million years did I suspect I would qualify. I saw some of those other grilled cheese’s on Instagram. One of them had pulled pork on it! Mine doesn't have pork! Mine is really very boring! I’m toast! Cheesy grilled toast! Its a lot of fun to tell people that you’re awesome and qualified for a grilled cheese contest, its another thing entirely to have to make 4 sandwiches in public and serve them to people to be judged.
In the next few weeks the organizer of the event called me a few times to confirm the ingredients in my recipe. By this point I’d already forgotten my “recipe” since I pretty much made it up. So I'm reasonably sure that I overestimated the size of my slices and that this sandwich will have way too much cheese on it. She asked if I wanted particular brands of bread or cheese. My response of “I really just buy whatever is on sale…” seemed super lame. She told me that one competitor wanted specific cheese that was made in Indiana, probably by artisans with access to magic cows who tap dance and sell chicken nuggets or something. I can’t stress to this lady enough how much I think she should really disqualify me and send me packing. I am not a chef. I’m just a chick who likes to get swag in the mail and has a reasonable degree of culinary ability. But, alas, she didn't disqualify me.
Its 8:33 in the morning the day of the contest. I haven't even gotten to the fair grounds yet and I have already imagined 500 ways I could embarrass myself and all of my ancestors. God help me if anyone asks what I did to prepare for this thing because the answer will be that I took a sleeping pill so that I wouldn't be up all night imagining all the ways I could perish in a grilled cheese related incident. I haven’t practiced my sandwich at all. Because goodness knows that I’d end up burning myself, because that’s my level of competency. I’m working on reminding myself that I’ve been saying and doing stupid things for 30+ years now and I’m still a relatively functional human being. Worst case: I lose but I got my whole family into the fair for free. *shrug* Thats not so bad, right?
…Uh oh… what if I don't get a consolation pizza cutter?! I’m going back to bed.