A little over a month ago, I got a surprising message on Facebook. It was from Indianapolis Star reporter, Jolene Ketzenberger, whom I had 'friended' a few months back. Jolene writes about all things food, and sometimes when I'm stressed or feeling out of sorts, I will read one of her delicious articles, and I'm instantly soothed.
When we entered a small conference room, my knees began to shake and buckle. Mine eyes had seen the glory! Pies, glorious pies were lined up in the center of the conference table, and I thought my heart would stop.
Let the Judging Begin
It was right about that time, when I noticed Star employees edging closer and closer to the conference room, not so discreetly peeking at us with urgency in their eyes. It was then that I learned the contestants were instructed to bring two pies for the contest - one for judging, and one for pictures (translated, employees get to eat). They wanted us to hurry the heck up!
We all tallied up our scores, commenting on each pie's best features and where others fell short (very few fell short of anything). These pies had Star Power. We had agreed that the Pear Pie with Maple & Candied Ginger was the winner ... or, so I thought. Some of the judges began to toss around various opinions and critiqued the pies a little more closely. What? What does this mean?
It means we taste the pies again; at least the top three or four; I don't know, I was almost in a coma at this point. But, having considered some of the other judge's suggestions and having had a chance to digest my opinions and taste the pies anew, I too had a slight change of heart. Once again we voted, with the final results:
First Place: Amazing Margarita Pie, by Mary McCarthy
Second Place: Coffee Toffee Pie, by Joan Whelden
Third Place: Pear Pie with Maple & Candied Ginger, by Julia Hunter
Honorable Mention went to Pat Rittgers for her Triple Very Berry Pie, and Heather Johns' Summer German Chocolate Pie.
But the highlight of the day for me was the honor of being in the presence of food royalty. The judges, who had all done this before, came from Central Indiana's foodie honor roll, including A. Rene Trevino (owner of Rene's Bakery in Broad Ripple); Drew Appleby, who is a professor and co-founder of IndyEthnicFood.com; Kelly Maucere (owner of My Sugar Pie in Noblesville); and, the queen herself, Jolene Ketzenberger.
This was a day I'll never forget. My experience was not just pie in the sky, but an unexpected treat and learning experience as I cautiously set foot in the baking world. I still have so much to learn. I will forever be grateful to Jolene Ketzenberger for inviting me to my first pie fest. Never in my wildest dreams would I believe I could eat (no, I didn't just taste) at least 12 pieces of pie in an hour.
Please visit the Indianapolis Star today for Jolene Ketzenberger's wonderful article, including the recipes for the winning pies.
Did I mention I had to pull over twice on the way home for coffee?
Who Is Anastasia?
- Rose Whisperer
- New Castle, Indiana Zone 5, United States
- When I was 55, I decided to embrace the things I love and hold precious and dear - regardless of anyone else's thoughts and opinion. I am a folk artist who loves flowers - my own flowers, grown by me. I love good, hearty, exotic foods, and I love to prepare them myself. I love the secret garden situated in my backyard, regardless of how junky it gets. No longer able to afford a vacation, this will have to be it for the time being. In the winter months, I still enjoy it. Anyway, here I am sharing my art, favorite recipes, cocktails, gardening tips, and just my usual vents and bantering. After all, I'm old enough to say whatever the heck I want to now ... Oh, the two pictures below are NOT of my garden, although the one with the pink French doors looks very much like the backyard I grew up with. I am searching for pictures of that wonderful place and will post soon.