PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Monday, October 08, 2007


Holy Smokes. Literally. Let me take you through the weekend, day-by-day.

Wristbands for the Royal

Friday Night, Party Party. This is the big night for the Royal, with party after party taking place. We had multiple wristbands, for my media reps' tents - we went to KCTV/KSMO's (CBS/MyTV) tent, and then on to WOLF/KUDL (radio). The food was great, the drinks were cold, and we had a lot of fun - I saw lots of people I knew, we ran into some old friends just accidentally - walking by, saw them sitting in their chairs with plates of food! It was Momma Linda's first time at the Royal, too. The Mike's Hard Lemonade went down quite smoothly.... and then we got back on a shuttle to head over to Union Station. (Shuttles? Totally the way to go.) The big excitement for the evening was when James met Gary Amble, who has promised to come teach the weather for his fifth graders!

James & Gary Amble
(Someone looks a little bit toasted here and they don't work for Channel 5!)

Saturday. Judging Side Dishes.

Before I begin with that, I'm going to show my judgmental side. We were behind this man, who, god love him, needs to accept the fact he doesn't have hair anymore and lose the rug. Poor guy. James got two pictures of me (and said toupee), one rather scary, like my face is melting, and then one of me just laughing.

Melty Face & Toupee

Waiting in Line

Three categories: Vegetables, Baked Beans, Potatoes. Oh me-oh-my-oh. We had some amazing portobella mushrooms, and some pretty marginal creamed corn. The interesting thing about this competition is that you can go nuts with presentation. (Not allowed in meats.) So people that put the effort in on their presentation scored high marks for appearance - we had a broccoli-rice casserole that was served in halloween shot glasses with vampire fangs at the top! Clever! Then, the baked beans. There were good baked beans and some that weren't so great. I was most excited for the potatoes - I looooove potatoes - and they turned out to be the most disappointing. One dish, while artfully presented, tasted immediately of canned cheese soup, and was overpowering.

There was a guy at our table who works for GM and lives in Mexico right now (flew in for this! there were people from all over who flew in to judge.) and we had the most mouth-watering conversations about food. He even gave us some good ideas for our pepper jelly concoctions. We had judges' parking on Saturday, but we took a Shriner's golf cart in to the arena, which was quite fun. My driver even stopped to get change when I made it clear I only had $20's and wasn't going to donate $20 for a four-block ride. I was quite hopeful we'd find them for the trip back - even eating just samples of things, I was feeling rather woozy, but we couldn't find them. So we hoofed it, in the heat & humidity, and I believe "Goddamn Shriners" was uttered no less than 16 times. Bleah. Better idea to walk in pre-food-judging, then find a ride back. I noticed a shuttle and stored that in my head for Sunday.

Ready To Judge Some Sides!

The nice thing about the American Royal? It's quite inclusive of the food lovers and the heftier population.

Sunday. The Big Event. Open Meats.

First order of business, establish that there are shuttles. We stood out on the street, and actually? A shuttle backed up half a block for us. Sweet! So we went in, checked in, and got seated. (This time, at different tables. Rules is rules when it comes to meat judging!) I started conversing with one of my fellow judges, and quickly discovered he is great friends with a former co-worker of mine (who is also a good buddy), and we have several local people in common. He works at a different ad agency, where numerous people I've worked with are! Such a small world. Anyway, he has a great sense of humor, and we had a pretty good time through the whole thing. The judge to his left admonished him for taking pictures; we thought it was funny she was all "rulesy", when she left between each meat section to smoke sixteen cigarettes - like, honey? Can you even taste anything? The woman to my right kept having coughing fits - violent, hacking coughs, and she confided in me later that she's been having bladder problems. EXCELLENT. She was a sweetheart, kept trying to take our stuff and throw it in the trash can that was near her - but missing. Yikes.

Making Friends
(It's always nice to meet someone else who talks with their hands.)

We judged chicken. Some amazing chicken. Given the fact I was starving, I ate some good chunks of chicken. Then? Then came the ribs. Oh my. All but one were deeeelicious. And so they all got eaten. The lady next to me (Bladder Issues) kept chirping about how dreadful it was that we didn't have baggies to put all the leftover meat into. (the pros bring coolers!) Then it was pork, and I started to feel like perhaps it was time to slow down - I didn't eat much beyond the bites for sampling. Next came the brisket. I was starting to feel protein-drunk. Our table captain produced one ziploc bag, and I put our brisket leftovers into it. I felt the beginnings of "oof" where one's stomach says, NO! You had a slice of pie, there is nothing more at the Thanksgiving table to eat! And sort of hoped that we were done - but it was not to be! It was time to judge the sausage.

Fortunately, we only had three sausage entries to judge. I'm not big on sausage to begin with, and any pretense at having a poker face was gone. James got the biggest laugh of the day, watching me bite into the first sample and start chewing. Lordy. There was actually one good entry, but I had hit the limit.

I forgot to get my signature from a KCBS rep, so I hoofed it back - after all, if I get 30 signatures in 5 years, I can be a MASTER judge. Someone else left their book in the car, and I realized this as I was being seated - can you tell I'm castigating JWo for forgetting his book?

Someone Forgot Their Book. NOT ME.

Twenty-Nine more of these. I dunno, folks. That's a lotta BBQ. And a lotta carnivorous carnage.

(these are JWo's ribs.)

Rib Carnage

It was a lot of fun. A ton of meat. A reminder that Kansas City gets smaller and smaller each year, even if we aren't getting smaller from eating all the smoked meat.


posted by PlazaJen, 11:04 AM