Baked good

I won! I am, in a sense, the best home baker in Arlington County, Va.

This is a ridiculous statement but also one of the most exciting sentences I've written in years.

Since moving to the area, I've been to the county's little fair a few times with friends and my roommate, Colin.

He, also a home baker, and I had perused the baked goods entries and confidently proclaimed that we could be contenders, if not shoo-ins for a ribbon.

It took about two years of bluster before we actually got ourselves together in time to enter. But this year we actually did it, shuttling our fresh-made food just after dawn to a nearby gymnasium to be judged by some unseen cabal described only as "experts."

I hedged my bets with two entries to the bread category: a rosemary sourdough country loaf, left, and tomato-basil pepperoni rolls.

And then we waited. I wasn't able to visit the fair — which runs from Friday to Sunday — until the last day. But a friend was going Saturday, and she promised to scope out the bread. She sent this via Snapchat:

I had won a blue ribbon for the country loaf! Very exciting. Now, the Arlington fair's grading system goes something like this: Blue ribbons are given for top contenders in each category (loaves vs. rolls, for example). Out of those, a purple champion ribbon is awarded for the category (all breads, all pies, etc.). And out of those a grand champion is chosen for the entire baked goods category.

Got it? Yeah, it took me a minute, too.

Well, here's the thing. I went in pretty pumped about that blue ribbon, but my friend had really buried the lead. Front and center on the awards table were my rolls.

I was grand champion for baked goods.

I don't want to downplay the moment. It was amazing to feel validated for a hobby I love and have put a lot of effort (and carb calories) into.

That feeling, or Northern Virginia's 600 percent humidity, is why I'm so sweaty up there.

There were no winner speeches, thankfully. But had there been, I would have credited my girlfriend for demanding I make a tomato-basil bread recipe and, of course, the people of Appalachia for the magic that is pepperoni rolls.

More blogs:
« FOI: Chicken pomodoro Mor-hey Eel »

I'm reading

"American Lion" by Jon Meacham
I've always liked presidential biographies, and this seemed like a good choice now that Old Hickory's portrait is hanging in the Oval Office these days. The old timey text can get dense but Meacham does a good job keeping it flowing.

I'm listening to

"What Now" by Sylvan Esso. I've slowly come around to loving this group, and the hooks are this newest album are just killer.

Other links

» "I Can Eat 50 Cadbury Eggs" — A personal photo project and fundraiser
» The CSS Zen Garden — how I taught myself Web design way back when