Today as I walked through my pantry, I eyed some jars of strawberry jelly and caramel apple butter, then moved them from the open shelf into a cabinet.  I wouldn’t want Ed to open and eat them before I get a chance to enter them in the fair this fall.

As I was hiding the jars behind some empty jars, I realized I’m a competitive person.  Not in a “keeping up with the Jones’s” kind of way.  Not with material things.  I just want to do my best, be the best that I can.  I guess I’m a perfectionist.

Years ago when I was completing my BEST portfolio (an evaluative portfolio for all second-year teachers in the state of Connecticut), I wanted it to be the best.  Not only did I want to get the highest score possible on my portfolio, I wanted it to be chosen as an exemplar, one of the best portfolios in the state.  Even though I didn’t get chosen as an exemplar, I did get selected to present some tips for success to teachers the following year.  That had to be good enough.

While I easily could have gotten a B on the papers I’ve worked on the last few days, that wasn’t good enough.  I don’t only want an A, I want an A+.  (Are you reading this, professor?)  I wasn’t going to do less than my best, even if it meant spending countless hours sitting at the computer while also neglecting my responsibilities around the house (like dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, pulling weeds…).  If someone was going to grade me on my housekeeping, I think I’d put in a lot more effort.  Perhaps I need to institute a monthly housekeeping report card.  (Yeah right).

Anyway, back to the fair.  Last year, I entered my butternut squash pie in the Guilford Fair and won Best In Show.  This year, I plan to enter the pie again, along with some preserves.  Strawberry jelly, caramel apple butter, applesauce, canned tomatoes and canned peaches are on my mental list of entries.  I want them to win blue ribbons.  Red and yellow are unacceptable around here.

I’m also planning to enter my butternut squash pie in the Durham Fair this year.  Durham is the unofficial state fair, and I’m going to be up against some stiff competition.  But that blue rosette from Guilford last year gave me the confidence I need to try Durham.  Blue is my favorite color.

Are you planning to enter anything in fairs this year?



Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Sustainable Living

11 responses to “Perfectionist

  1. Abbie, I completely understand being a perfectionist about school work. Honestly, I don’t think I’m that way about anything else… maybe work, but not housework (ha!), not crafts, nothing else.

    These days, if I was going to enter anything in the fair, I think it would be a photograph or a floral arrangement. I don’t think they’d be interested in my political science paper! 😉

    Good luck with your entries. They all sound delicious. I’m sure you are going to do very well on your paper too… You’ve already put in the dedicated effort, and it isn’t really about luck.

    • You should enter a photograph! You’ve got such lovely landscapes.

      We had to laugh, last year’s photograph theme was “Barns,” and as we walked through the photo section we saw at least 5 pictures of our waterwheel barn. We kept saying “Hey, there’s our barn!”

  2. I’m thinking about entering some of my jams and pickles. Maybe I’ll do a pie as well.

  3. Rob

    Never entered a fair. Rarely go to them,Meybe if I grew giant pumpkins or something. But oh well

  4. Aunt Sara

    I have your Great-Grandfather Gedney’s dill pickle recipe if you would like. My pickles were always crisp, never soggy. Also, I have your Great-Grandmother Gedney’s sweet pickle recipe. I’ll have to locate them though, haven’t used them in about 20 years. I used to make jam, can peaches (pickled peaches,too) make 2 kinds of pickles, and a spicy green tomato relish. I haven’t done any of that in years, maybe I should try to find the time! (I also made all home-made baby food back in the 70’s-because the store-bought had way too much sugar and preservatives in it…and sewed most of my daughter’s clothes) . Your blog often reminds me of my early days as a wife and mom. Now my sewing machine has dust on it, and the canning jars are empty, in the basement.

  5. Ab, there’s nothing wrong with being a perfectionist in things we really care about, is there? It’s funny how we pick and choose the places we put our passion. . . sounds so familiar! I, too, would put hours of effort into papers, schoolwork, and presentations, while the dust and laundry collected . . . good thing we’re NOT graded on housekeeping! (Heck, I even proofread my comments; is that weird?)

    Oh, and by the way, your BEST Portfolio WAS an exemplar! I was so disgusted with colleagues of mine when I was scoring them, because too many were too lazy to document the “4s” (Exemplary) when it was easier to back up a passable 3 or 2. I think that was more of a reflection on them and not you! Plus, that portfolio process that we slaved over has gone by the wayside because the standards were so high, many could not pass and there wasn’t $$$ to implement correctly!

    Ummm, back to the fairs, perhaps I’ll enter some photos this year as I haven’t done that recently. Pix of grizzlies and/or workhorses, possibly? As far the the baking, preserving, etc., you surely outdo me with that . . . I have a feeling I’ll be too busy with schoolwork to do housework!


  6. Sarah Heaston

    I love, love, LOVE fair time…’s so wonderful. I think it’s the tradition of it all…..I think this year I will enter some pies, cakes, other baked goods like cookies and rolls, etc. Hoping next year to enter canned goods, we will see.

    It is fun getting blue ribbons…hope you get lots of them! 🙂

    Sarah 😉

  7. Lizz

    Thanks for the ant advice! I don’t know where they’re coming in from so I’ll just leave dryer sheets around like you said. I’m going home this weekend so I can steal some from my parents.

    That pie sounds delicious by the way. I think if I weren’t so scared to make pie crust I’d make more in the fall. I generally just stick to cookies.

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