Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)
TITLE: The Annual Christmas Fruit Cake Bake-Off Gala
By Yvonne Blake
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“Tables are loaded with exquisite displays of culinary creations: a Black Forest Cherry Cake, a Festive Eggnog Cake, an Orange Marmalade Noel Cake, a Chocolate Yule Log, a Jewel Fruit Cake, and even a Coconut Cookie Tree. Band music is filling the air, and dignitaries are arriving by limousines. What a grand event this will be!
“Here is Miss Linda Emmon, wife of Senator Meringue, arriving now, dressed in a yellow chiffon gown, topped with fluffy white stole.
“Hello, Miss Emmons, could you tell us what you think of the Bake-Off and Gala occurring at the same time?”
“It’s an outrage! To think that we have to mingle with restaurant chefs and ordinary cooks. It’s enough to give me the shivers!”
“Thank you, Miss Emmons. Let’s go inside to get some other opinions. Here is someone in a dark plum outfit near the food tables.
“Excuse me, Ma’am. Could you tell me your name and what brings you here, tonight, the Bake-Off or the Gala?”
“My name is Candace Dumpling. I’m just here for the excitement. I love Christmas puddings, but I think any kind of cake or pie is scrumptious. I could just sit in a corner and eat one all by myself. Oh, this is so much fun! Did you know that because of the double scheduling, anyone can come…no invitations needed?”
“So, do you know any of the Cake Contestants?”
“Oh, yes, there’s George over there. He’s a peach, but a little young for me to date; still got fuzz on his chin…hee, hee!”
“What’s the name of the band?”
“That’s The Concords! Aren’t they great? They’re whining, though, because they are squeezed into the corner and have to share the stage with The Pomegranate Ensemble, a foreign group for the Gala.”
“Well, thank you, Miss… oh, there she goes… Well, let’s talk to one of the cake contestants, Chef Ping Apple.
“Hello, Sir, what do you think of the competition tonight?”
“It’s quite a crowd all right! I hope things stay organized. I’ve spent twenty-three full hours working on my nine-layer cake. ‘Twould be a shame if anything happened to it.”
“So you think you’ve got a good chance of winning?”
“Yes, Ma’am. I even brought my Granny, Ida Smith. It’s her recipe, and when I get the blue ribbon, I want to share it with her.”
“Well, that’s very considerate of you…and you, Ma’am, do you think he’ll win?”
“Hi, Dear. Yes, I think he has a good chance. My grandson may seem prickly on the outside, but he’s got a sweet inner core.”
“Thank you, Mr. Ping Apple and Granny Smith. Now, I hear the music changing. It sounds like the Holiday Mixer Waltz. The floor is filled with swirling dresses of all colors: raspberry, cranberry, lime green, tangerine, and blueberry.
“The Pomegranate Ensemble is now playing the Mango Tango. A couple dressed in black is strutting shoulder to shoulder across the floor, amid flickering specks of light. Wow! Look at them dip! What a pair!
“Anna Chiquita, dressed in a cream-colored skirt and satin slippers, is now singing ‘Feliz Navidad’, with The Pomegranates playing and people singing along.
“Now the Concord band has started playing ‘Holiday Hoe-Down Cobbler.’ The crowd is really getting into a party spirit. I think I better back out of the way. I can hardly hear myself, with all the clapping and foot stomping.
“Oh, no! Percy Simmons, with his sequined tuxedo, has backed into Mandy Rin, in the orange Chinese kimono. With her arms flailing, she’s trying to catch her balance, but grabs the edge of the tablecloth instead. Oh, no! There goes Chef Ping Apple’s nine-layer cake! It’s falling! It’s upside-down on the floor. He’s not too happy. Oh, I hope this doesn’t end in people throwing punches. I think it’s time for me to sign off.
“This is Cheri Bing, from station WHIP, in Quince, Florida. Merry Christmas!”
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