04 June, 2014

Taste of the Southern Highlands

Yesterday evening was the 9th Annual Taste of the Southern Highlands here in Hiawassee, a food competition for local restaurants. This is a fundraiser for The Towns County Family Connection, a partnership of organizations that work together to help meet the needs of children in our community.

Dale has been one of the food judges the last two years, but unfortunately was not feeling well, and asked me (of all people) to fill in for her. I felt completely out of my league compared to her and the other culinary experts.

The other judges for the competition were surprised when Judge Johnny arrived to participate. After carefully listening to their suggestions, and feeling overwhelmed, one of the others calmed me with "Just tell us what tastes better to you."

The food samples began arriving, and the tasting began. While I certainly don't have  a very educated palate, I do know what is good to me and what isn't. While I didn't want to sound like a complete doofus, I was surprised when, upon tasting the second offering, I blurted out "Not for me."

One of the others responded, "Why? Too bland, too subtle a taste, too what?" My response, "Not very good." I then began to learn the lingo of food judging. "Not quite enough salt," or "A little heavy on the sour cream."

As I relaxed I really began to focus on the foods. And I was surprised at how I began to experience the subtleties of the taste. Sure I still blurted out some very gourmet thoughts. "This is out of this world." "Has to be the best I've ever tasted." "I could gorge on this three meals a day." "Are you going to eat the rest of that, or can I have it."

Needless to say, I really enjoyed the food. Wouldn't mind being the "Taster of the Southern Highlands" again next year.

John