Fair Day

At the end of my cheese tasting post, I hinted at big news to come, and now it arrived: The reason I had the tasting party was to figure out which cheese to perfect … to enter it at the Fair!

San Diego County Fair Logo

During my cheese class, the instructor mentioned this cheese competition. I thought she was insane, but the seed was planted.

The competition was last Friday. Father’s day weekend was the cheese preparation. It did not go as smoothly as I’d hoped. When I flipped the cheese, a piece of one edge stuck to the mat and tore. I was disappointed, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to start over. But after it was finished, there was a fridge incident. I thought I had the cheese resting on a flat surface. It was not. It creased my cheese!

Creased cheese

That was not going to work. I had a choice: Make another cheese that won’t age quite as much as I would like or don’t enter the fair at all. So I made another cheese.

This one also had a slight tear along the top.

Torn Cheese

None of my other test cheeses had done that, and now it was happening to both my competition cheeses. I think Murphy (or Sod, depending on your country of origin) played a role.

I finished it up, the cheese felt right, and all was well.

The entry form talked about the judging criteria of presentation and mentioned that garnishes can be used. I was stumped. Making things look pretty isn’t something I spend effort on, so I emailed the cheese instructor and owner of Curds and Wine. Within a half hour, she wrote me back! She told me the back history and controversy associated with the presentation scores – in her view (which I share), it is a cheese competition, not a pretty plate competition. But I wanted to score the best I could, so I bought a pretty disposable plate (disposable was required) and used her suggestion of a doily for a garnish.

Here was my fair entry.

Competition Cheese

Ms. M joined me on my big adventure. We met so many nice people that day. Some retired teachers gave Ms. M their extra ticket on the bus ride over from the parking lot, and I met another first time entrant as I turned in my cheese at the booth.

Tammy at Cheese Competition

We had some time before the judging, and we were hungry, so we went out to the food stalls. We found a healthy place with vegan options … at the Fair. We were in shock.

We had a chance to visit the woodworking exhibit before going back to see the cheese competition. Ms. M found an award-winning entry from her best friend from high school!

Woodworking at Fair

We arrived back at the cheese competition during the judging. I was able to see the number of cheeses in each category. Soft cheeses don’t require the special cheese fridge and are easier to make, so there were around 20 entries – by far the largest number. Some categories, like bleu cheese and feta, only had four entries each.

Long story short, I didn’t take home a ribbon. It was never about that, though. What an Adventure Girl activity it was to put myself out there and try something new like this!

I had a glorious day, I’m mastering a new skill, and I love all the support I’ve received. I’m already starting to figure out what categories I should enter next year!

On our way out of the Fair (after petting the livestock), Ms. M spotted the outside of a house of horror that was too good to pass up.

Ms. M at Fair

This picture had to be taken! What a perfect end to a perfect day.

Has anyone ever entered a contest at the Fair? or What was your last activity that pushed your comfort zone?

4 thoughts on “Fair Day”

  1. This was a fabulous post. I really look forward to going to the fair. I don’t think anyone I know gets as excited as I do about the fair! I’m so happy you helped make it happen with your participation! The added thrill of riding on the upper deck of a London bus from the FREE parking lot is cool too! I have almost every gadget I’ve ever stood and watched a demonstration of. Such starry eyes with a credit card at the fair is FUN! I have never enjoyed or trusted the rides though. I wish I had the iron stomach of my youth for trying all the crazy food concoctions they offer! I actually couldn’t soldier through the salty leg of turkey due to the extraordinary salty taste. It took extreme sacrifice to drop it in the trash. Even then I looked at it sitting on top and “still retrievable” before I could muster the strength to walk away. The Lobster tacos were delicious and I was even able to see an actual lobster morsel lurking in the tiny $12 street style 99¢ taco (*available any day at RUbios but NOT at the fair). The bonus of the day was that I was with 7 of my eight grandkids and felt I was channeling my childhood through them! I would have spoiled them more than just buying dipping dots but they were off in the fun zones away from me so I just gave ’em a sheet of tickets. I LOVE the fair! Some day, I’m going to mount and enter my match book collection on a fancy display board or arrange some telephony stuff for an entry. I would have a more extensive collection of telephony but due to an Ominous “SI 24 policy” (INSTANT TERMINATION WITH NO BENEFITS) edict from the phone company,I was always afraid to collect any of the amazing telephony specimens that passed through my hands during my 27+ year tenure there.

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    1. I hadn’t been to the Fair in over a decade. This was so much better than the previous experiences.

      I was all set to buy a funnel cake, but the size (10″ diameter) and the cost ($12!!!!!) was too much. I went for the frozen banana instead ($7 and super yummy and almost healthy).

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  2. What a perfect day it was! Weather, food, free stuff, petting of animals, a fun variety of wooden things… I’m so proud of you putting yourself out there. Your cheese looked beautiful. Too bad we couldn’t taste it. Loved the entire event! Thanks for inviting me!!! 😉

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