Photo: _ambrown, Flickr
State fair season is winding down, and if your traditional rhubarb crisp failed to take home a blue ribbon this year, don't despair: there's always next year. Whether you still have a chance to snag a prize in your own state, or you're plotting a comeback for 2011, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has compiled some tips for whipping up a winner.
The main message from judges and contestants alike seems to be: looks matter, but taste matters more. Taste, texture and moisture content are key, according to one judge, but if there's a tie, pretty, level cakes with evenly distributed frosting win over lopsided and deformed ones.
If you're thumbing through your recipe box trying to decide what to enter, a good strategy is to choose the recipe that garners the most praise from your friends and family. In other words, if your plate of peach cobbler consistently comes home empty from your church potluck, then you may have a winner.
One repeated contestant suggests registering in advance if you can, which will be one less thing you have to do on judgment day. Also, prepare your entry the day before so it's fresh. Even the best pies suffer from sitting in the fridge for several days.
And don't get cocky if you're a winner this year, one judge warns. Judges change from year to year, so just because your apple brown betty landed top prize this season, that doesn't mean it will again.
But what we really want to know is, how do we get to be a judge?