that being said, i really have to tell you about this year!
over the past four years i've become somewhat of a grizzled veteran in the whole wichita underground meatloaf scene. i laugh when i look back at how young and naive i was in 2010, a fresh loaf fighter right of of the kitchen with a traditional style loaf, never having tasted the oven baked goodness of a victory. then came 2011, i was older, wiser...hungrier for a win, and i found myself starting to experiment with performance enhancing spices and ingredients. it's still under investigation how much the "dill" had to do with it, but that "experimental" year found me taking home my first win, "peoples choice." however the "top loaf" prize still escaped me. i don't want to talk about 2012. i had a big ego, i thought i was too good, i thought i no longer needed to train or prepare, i thought i could waltz in and win the hearts of the judges with the same loaf as 2011. i was sorely mistaken, not only did i not win any prize, i had serious thoughts of throwing in the dish towel.
after a few months away from the game, my head cleared. i had learned my lesson, and the utter defeat i had felt last year now only fueled my oven fires hotter. the last 12 months were spent thinking, tasting, suggesting, reading, learning, training, and google-ing trying to find the perfect combination of flavors that would melt the hearts of the judges and public alike. after a few recipes and one very excellent trial run, i had it, a brand new meatloaf never before seen at this competition...maybe even america. i, along with my trusty companion, my mom, had something new, something different, something america never new it always wanted; a blue cheese and peppercorn meatloaf.
the competition was grueling, forks flung, spatulas sparred and tongs tussled but i knew i had a chance. why you ask, because i saw the look on the peoples face when i told them the sample i had just dished them was a blue cheese and peppercorn meatloaf. their eyes sparkled and their mouths watered. one old man starting crying. granted, i'm not sure if it was from my description or if he had his own things going on, but there was crying. none the less it proved my theory had been correct. over the course of the year, i had noticed millions upon millions of menus across this country featured dishes covered with blue cheese. why? because people love it, they crave it. they want it on everything, but until today there had been one thing they had never had it on, meatloaf. as i handed them the sample, it was easy to see, they realized their blue cheese ship had finally come in to meatloaf harbor.
the hours passed by and the plates slowly emptied and before i knew it the judges were ready to announce their decision. the reading of the results were a bit of a blur, but in the end, out of 12 teams, mostly consisting of local restaurants, i came in third. although it wasn't first place, i was very honored. if that wasn't enough, when the people's votes were tallied, 2013 would also find me me reclaiming my title as "people's choice" which i was very thankful for as well. as always, i couldn't have accomplished this without the support and help of my family and friends. thank you all.
now, with the coveted "top loaf" prize well within striking distance, i want it even more. i don't know exactly what it'll be but expect something new and exciting for 2014.
[cue rocky theme]