by Bec C
Whilst lying in bed this morning, I was startled to find myself smiling with genuine pleasure over a memory of something that happened 2 years ago. You may well raise your eyebrows at what you perceive to be a small, inconsequential event, but for me it was an Event that deserves nothing less than a title with capital letters – “The Day I Won the ‘Open’ Chutney Blue Ribbon At the Nabiac Show”.
In a fit of localism, I had entered my Yummy Runny Mango Chutney. No, it wasn’t a secret family recipe handed down from generation to generation in an original hand-written recipe book. I will say only – thank god for the Internet. I chose this particular recipe for the fact that every other recipe called for Green mangoes, and I only had Yellow ones at my disposal. I mean, who buys green mangoes?
Of course, I was considered a low-risk entrant, hardly likely to rate against the pros who have entered year after year. Actually, I probably didn’t even rate a consideration. Not a member of any guild, I was coming in from the cold, from ‘the outside’.
Needless to say, I will never forget my exhiliration upon walking into the hall and sighting the blue gold-embossed ribbon hanging off my little jar of chutney. Bec H, Hubs, and I gathered around the display, laughing, and laughing, and laughing.
I’m still laughing!
I mention all of this, because the show is coming up again, and I have plucked up the courage to re-enter, this time with a pear chutney as I didn’t get it together whilst the mangoes were in season. This is a significant moment, because until now I have been living off the cudos off my first blue ribbon. In fact, it hangs proudly with my certificate off my fridge door, so that anyone visiting can sight it and say ‘oo, what’s this here?’, and I can regale them with my winning moment. But I’m starting to sound a bit desperate, as the moment was a couple of years ago. Yet if I lose, I will have to take that blue ribbon down, and replace it with a fridge magnet advertising the local dog salon, and who will go ‘ooo, ahhh’ over that, except for the dog (who, as a farm dog, will be seen running in the opposite direction)?
So on Thursday this week I put aside the loser magnet and the multitude of practical tasks I had to do before taking my family away for 2 weeks, and started peeling. 2 kilos of pears later, I had finished – here’s hoping it’s a little less runny by show day. (for recipe and tips, please go to ‘Baking Tips’ page).
I have subsequently been informed by the local craft matriach (let’s call her Helen) who, wanting to put me back in my place (I can only surmise that she too had entered a chutney but mine had beat hers) told me that winning a category is small fry – the real excitement comes from winning the overarching ‘pavillion medal’, which of course she has done. Needless to say, she had never re-entered because “it didn’t seem fair to others” (I will leave you to make your own interpretation on her motives).
All I can say in response is, ‘one chutney at a time Helen. One chutney at a time.’
Postscript – to BecH, who is also entering with a chutney… or is it a relish? What’s the difference?… Don’t ‘forget’ to enter mine in my absence.
2nd Postscript – BecH, did you happen to own a green/brown bead handbag as I just bought one from one of the op shops?! (see ‘What goes around comes around’)