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Monday, November 1, 2010

Humble Beginnings.... Part 1

I have had a few people ask me about Dutch Oven Cooking.  So I am going to start at the beginning. I received my first Dutch Ovens from my Aunt Peggy & Uncle Lynn. They were moving overseas and did not have a use for them, knowing that Rod and I like the great outdoors they figured we’d use them. Well, they sat in our basement for a couple of years, getting rather rusty and dusty.
 Rod and I were called to various scouting positions over the next year or so and we were introduced to Dutch Oven cooking “Scouting Style”. We have a very good friend who took the time to teach us how to re-season them from their battered and abused state in to what I cook in today. (more to come on this topic)

We used our Dutch Ovens every now and then after learning about them. Rod was asked about that same time by a former school mate to help judge the Dutch Oven cook off at the Utah State fair. He did this for a few years until someone else took charge of the competition and brought in their own judges. It has always been a favorite of ours to go see when we attended the fair and in 2007 when we were visiting the competition I ran into a very good friend of mine from high school who was competing, he told me how much fun it was and I got to thinking, for years I have had people tell me what a great cook I am, so I though “ok why not” I called the fair office the next day to see what I could still enter. I entered the Salsa, Chili, and the Great American cook off that year. Well, that year I took home my 1st blue ribbon for my Salsa. I found out that the Chili competition is a whole different world from Dutch oven cooking. And the Great American Cook off – well that’s what bit me. Everyone treated everyone like family and being the new comer they really opened up the big book of knowledge for us. Rod cooked with me that year and the following year before he decided to let the kids experience cooking and competing with me.  In 2009 I decided to see what the Davis County fair had to offer, my daughter Melissa and I took 3rd place. And at the 2009 “Mystery Bag Cook off” Melissa and I took 3rd place again. Let me back up with that a little – the Mystery Bag is where you can only bring your pots, stove and cookbooks, you have no advance notice of what you are cooking you get bags of groceries and you have to make 3 dishes, a main, bread and dessert. That year we had hamburger as our meat and to mix it up they threw in a mystery ingredient of peanut butter. We make meatballs and a peanut butter dipping sauce, our bread was a blueberry cream cheese ring, and stuffed butternut squash. That year (2009) my youngest daughter Becka helped me with the Salsa and Chili, and Andrew helped me with the Great American Cook off. With each cook off we gleaned more and more knowledge from these cooks.
This past February I was asked if I would compete in the Yukon Rush Cook off at Cabela’s down in Lehi. I figured sure, since I had just been laid off and it sounded like fun, something to take my mind off of work, I asked who wanted to cook with me and Melissa was the 1st to answer. In the wind which made the 27° temperatures feel like we were cooking in the arctic we set up our stuff  in front of Cabela’s. We had carefully planned our menu and were hoping to WOW the judges, well I guess we did – we took 1st place. That was an awesome day! I remember when they announced who won 1st overall the tears of happiness just started flowing. I don’t think reality hit until I got home and was praised for winning and beating out some of the Dutch Oven Greats, those who had mentored me. That is when the hook really sunk in.  I love Dutch Oven cooking.

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