“Your green beans didn’t win anything. Not first. Not second. Not even third,” my husband, Marv, told me over the phone when he called from the Open Class building at this year’s Stearns County Fair.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “I did everything the judge told me to do last year.”
My green bean entry last year only took second place, so this year I was sure I could do better. I’m rather proud of the long rows of Jade green beans that we grow in our garden. I’m the main bean picker (peas are way easier on the back!) in our family so I felt like my personal time investment, not to mention the quality of our beans, was worthy of something.
I carefully selected 12 green beans of the same size. I taped them down on a large paper plate — all facing the same direction — with the stems still attached on both ends. These were the things the judge told me to do when I asked her last year what would have helped my chances of getting first.
I’m still not sure what the problem was. Maybe it was a different judge. Maybe there’s something I overlooked. No matter. I’m not going to dwell on it any more than I already have.
Now, my chocolate chip cookies on the other hand, I’m pretty happy about. See, the thing of it is, there are a lot of good bakers in Stearns County, and for me to win the first-place ribbon — that’d be a blue — on my first attempt at entering the most popular cookie in the show, well, that makes me smile.
My breads, both yeast and quick breads, didn’t do too bad either. It all kind of fires me up to see if I can do even better next year. And, one of these years, I’m going to face the really stiff competition at the Minnesota State Fair.
If you’re interested in trying my chocolate chip cookie recipe, here it is. (See box for recipe.) I hope you like it as much as my kids — and Benedictine Sister Suzanne Slominski — like it.