Baked goods are great at the fair

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Thursday, 08/04/2022

Auglaize County contestants shine with delicious stuff

By Leslie Gartrell

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Auglaize County Fair cooking judge Pat Wooley takes a sample of marinated pork skewers to test during Wednesday night’s Greek-themed cooking competition.

WAPAKONETA – Contestants in this year’s Auglaize County Fair Baking Contest had to make it big or homer and submit their best Greek dish and/or sweet for judging.

The participants gathered on Wednesday evening in the fruit hall on the exhibition grounds to evaluate and taste each other’s contributions.

Horticulture chairman Larry Kill, who sets the theme for the competition, says he likes to challenge the contestants with a different country each year.

By choosing a foreign country as the theme, participants need to get out of their comfort zone and find inspiration, he said.

“That’s how you find out who’s a good cook, you (throw) things at them that they don’t normally do,” he said.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Doris Cook’s Greek Lemon Pie is waiting to be judged at the Auglaize County Fair.

Doris Cook, 81, is a longtime contestant. The St. Marys resident submitted a Greek lemon cake that she said introduced her to some new techniques and ingredients.

“I’ve never heard of using a cup of whole milk yogurt (in a recipe), it was really different for me,” she said.

Cook said she usually enters the contest when she finds a recipe that matches. Her philosophy, she said, is that if no one attends the competitions, there will be no fair.

Dixie Durkee, St. Marys, entered Meatballs with Lemon Garlic Orzo as a Greek dish and Baklava as a Greek sweet. The 59-year-old said she got the meatball recipe from her daughter-in-law, who often makes Greek food and is great home cooking.

The competition is a fun way to try new foods and catch up with old friends and competitors who attend every year, she said.

“The competition is fun. We get together every year and we talk,” Durkee said. “It’s just a nice way to meet and chat with people who love to bake.”

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

A Greek salad, made by contestant Nikki Rohrbaugh, sits alongside other foods during judging of the Greek-themed cook-off at the Auglaize County Fair.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Many hands help cut marinated pork skewers for judging at the Auglaize County Fair.

Wapakoneta’s Nikki Rohrbaugh said she searched for an authentic Greek recipe before choosing her dish, which was a platter of marinated pork skewers, tzatziki sauce, homemade flatbread and Greek salad. She also submitted a walnut cake for her Greek candy.

Finding an authentic recipe for the competition proved a bit of a challenge, she said, since most of the recipes used the metric system. The 37-year-old said she ended up buying a grocery scale so she could properly weigh her ingredients for a consistent product.

Rohrbaugh said she often enters the competition, as does her sister-in-law, because it’s a fun way to get together and try new things.

“Every year they change the theme or the ingredients they want you to have, and then your creativity is the limit,” she said. “I encourage people to keep participating. We all know each other, it’s a good time. There are no uncomfortable feelings and it’s great to see new faces.”

Kill also encouraged people to enter the competitions.

“Just enter. You never know what the next person will bring,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to be here, so if you look at something and say, ‘Oh, that’s not good enough,’ bring it anyway.”

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Judy Mowery’s spinach and zeta cheese pie is waiting to be judged at the Auglaize County Fair.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Gunnar Smith’s Milopita, a Greek-style apple and spice loaf, wins first place in the Auglaize County Fair’s Greek-themed baking competition.

Photo by Paige Sutter/The Daily Standard

Pat Wooley cuts into a contestant’s Greek candy to judge at the Auglaize County Fair.

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