I wanted to enter the county fair and win a blue ribbon ... bad.

A few months ago, I started concocting recipes and outsourcing them to my sisters. I enlisted help from my mom, uber domestic goddess Ginger and a few others so we could locally source ingredients. Mercina and Glorianna were going to be in town and I was working overtime to lure Kimber to Colorado for the fair. It was gonna be awesome and if it was the last thing I did this summer, we were gonna win.

And then life happened.

My cousin got married just when we were all supposed to head out West. One of my best friends decided to get married a few days after the wedding (the nerve of them both, right!?). I had two performances the week before. Mercina and Glorianna decided to stay in Washington. Kimber needed to go to California. Yoni's business partners needed him in New York. Mom was out of town and the dogs needed some serious loving. It was just me an Liberty. The day before we needed to register for the fair, we had no jars, no produce and no real chance.

There was an epic rains storm. While I braved the elements to collect every ripe (and some not so ripe) thing in Mom's garden, there was no way I had time to visit Ginger's house to get the remainder of the ingredients. But when Liberty opened the door to her house somehow, I knew everything was going to be alright. Vast stores of copper pots and pans pans emerged. Soon, the hum of blenders and cadence of knives on cutting boards echoed through her kitchen. Settling on two time-honored family recipes, we decided to focus on a salsa verde and a Hungarian sauce studded with tomatoes, peppers and onions. We roasted and chopped, boiling jars and doing things that are WAY out of our cooking league. The scent of paprika, caramelized onions, hot peppers and garlic filled the air. Finally, at about 2am, we called it quits, hoping our jars would vacuum seal.

The next morning, Libby and I raced to the fair grounds. We sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to decide if it was worth taking in our entries. The tomatillos were not ripe and made the salsa a little bitter. The jars took longer than expected to sterilize and the Hungarian lesco had become too salty.

Finally, with no time to spare, Liberty marched in our entries. The person at the desk (amusingly named Harmony. She should have been one of our sisters, right?) explained that we would receive an email as soon as the winners were announced.

Then we waited ... and waited ... and waited ...


Then, the tirades began. The judges must be related to the entrants. Their palates weren't refined enough. They figured out our canning method didn't meet protocol. The tomatillos destroyed everything. We reduced the Hungarian Lecso for too long. Really, the whole thing was just super annoying and we were never going to do it again.

After church, I was going home. With noon day sun streaming through my car window I had almost forgotten the entire county fair debacle, when I opened my email.

Liberty and I rushed to the fair and ... well ... we liked the county fair after all ...

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by an outcome?? We'd love to hear about it!!