If there is one thing that unites all of the states in the country, it must be that each state holds a state fair each year. While the first state fair in the U.S. was held in Syracuse, New York in 1841, the tradition soon spread to Southern states and, as the country expanded, into the west. Today, state fairs are still playgrounds for families and giving us some delicious food. As the State Fair of Texas approaches, we're downright drooling over some of the finalists for the Big Tex Awards. However, you don't need to be a professional chef to enter a home cooking competition at the State Fair.
Truly the highest honor a Texan could receive would be a blue ribbon from the State Fair of Texas' Creative Arts competitions. If you're feeling adventurous or know your neighbor makes the most delicious biscuits this side of the Mississippi, here are the home cooking competitions anyone can enter this year at the State Fair of Texas.
1. Speedy Dishes
This competition is for any home cook who can whip something incredible in six steps or less. While food basics like salt, pepper, and water don't count toward the ingredient list, all other items must be accounted for. Sound like this is up your alley?
Check in to the competition with your entry form at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 10, and get ready to be judged at 10:30 a.m. The only rule? It's amateurs only, so it's truly for every home cook that can handle a spatula.
2. Honey, the Magic Ingredient
The only rule for this competition? Contestants can only use honey as a sweetener. There are no syrups, sugars, or alternative sugars allowed, not even molasses! Show the judges your most unique dishes, too. This competition isn't just limited to dessert recipes.
The competition commences on Monday, October 16, so show up ready to wow!
3. Red River Showdown Biscuit Cook-Off
Mark your calendars for Opening Day on September 29, 2017! The rivalry between Texas and OU might be on this day, but there's one more match-up worth watching: the Red River Showdown Biscuit Cook-Off. Are your homemade biscuits flaky and golden brown? You might have a chance to win this one, then.
4. "Guess What's Cooking"
Do you love Chopped? Then you'll love this competition. All home cooks cannot bring any ingredients from home, cannot use a cookbook or written recipe, and cannot use any sort of technology for help. Challengers will only be able to use what is provided in the Mystery Bag and won't know the ingredients ahead of time.
If you can MacGyver your way out of most cooking mishaps, try to put your own skills to the test on October 5th. Who knows? You just might surprise yourself!
5. Farm to Fork
If you're passionate about sustainable cooking, this home cook competition is all about farm fresh and unprocessed. Sorry meat eaters, the recipe must be meat-free and feature vegetables front and center. Sticking to seasonal vegetables will most certainly get you far, as those are the vegetables you'll be working with!
6. Ice Cream Freeze-Off
Think your ice cream recipe is the best on the block? Put it on the judging block at the State Fair of Texas and submit your best and brightest ice cream for review. The two most important factors? Taste and texture, y'all.
October 12 isn't so far away, it's time to start blending up test batches now. Besides, your family and friends won't mind a little ice cream around the house.
7. Play With Your Food
Are you a little bit more experimental than all of those home cook competitions above? If you consider yourself an architect of the plate, consider entering the Play With Your Food competition, where as long as all of your building materials are edible, you can build it!
The show-stopping creative winner will be chosen on October 3, so start creating those massive sculptures now!