2014 National Cheese Dip Competition

cheese dip research, 11-8-12, 2A couple of the Buffet o’ Blog staff attended the National Cheese Dip Competition this year.  Let me just say it was AWESOME!  And let me also add that next time attendance is required for all Buffet o’ Blog staff — just because you don’t want to miss it.

Perhaps I should quantify my opinion.  It wasn’t like a carnival or state fair — there were a few side activities and music, but the primary event was trying lots of different cheese dip recipes.  If that sounds like a good time to you, then you should definitely go.

There were around 15 entries in the competition, including both amateurs and professionals.  Fortunately, there was plenty of cheese dip to go around, at least while we were there.  And all but one of the cheese dips were good.  The one that failed was trying to be healthy — which may not have been the whole problem — but it was both too liquidious (runny) and grainy at the same time, somehow.  Perhaps just that one batch was messed up, because I can’t see them entering that.

I think the amateurs outperformed the professionals in the competition, and I even voted for an amateur group.  When the final results came out, my choice didn’t win, but I don’t think the voting results are necessarily fair.  Each person who attends the competition gets two votes.  However, additional votes can be purchased, which is where I think it’s not fair.  For a restaurant entering, it would be worth investing several hundred dollars for more votes, in the name of advertising.  Being able to display the championship logo and advertising that you won the National Cheese Dip Competition is a big deal!  That will result in more sales, no doubt.  For amateurs, a group with more money can sway the votes in their favor.  So I don’t pay much attention to who won.

Most of the entrants were from around this area, but one group was from San Francisco.  I learned that most people there don’t know what cheese dip is, but a guy from Jacksonville, AR, married a woman from San Francisco, moved out there, and told them they should sell it in their restaurant.  On a related note, all of the entrants were friendly, and it was just non-crowded enough that you could talk for a bit with them, which made the experience more fun.  We enjoyed asking them what made their cheese dip special, or what the secret ingredient was — we received some amusing answers.

Overall, I would give the event 4.5 stars out of 5.  The only real knock against it is that they didn’t have sweet tea.  (Hello, we are in the South here!  Besides, tea is very profitable.)  At least the bottled water and other beverages were affordable.

Speaking of profitable, all proceeds were donated to a group that performs medical services for those who can’t afford it.  That’s admirable.

Also, if you’re wondering why the National Cheese Dip Competition would be located in Little Rock, Arkansas, I’ll explain that in the next post.  🙂

my trip to the 2007 Faulkner County Fair

I went to the Faulkner County Fair the other night, to see what-all was going on.  I’ve been to numerous small-town fairs and carnivals, so I expected this one to be bigger and better since it’s in a city of over 50,000 people.  But I was disappointed.  It wasn’t that much different, and everything has become so expensive.  I knew the food would be high, but the rides were even higher!  My wife and I were going to ride the Ferris Wheel, but then we discovered it costs $8 for the two of us, and it’s not that exciting.  Is that the typical going fare for carnival rides now?  It would get expensive real quick to participate in even a quarter of the rides and games there.

Now on to a few less-serious observations.  Seeing the kiddie rides brought back memories of years past.  There was a carousel horse ride, and I remembered riding on it as a kid.  Of course I don’t care about riding it now, but I imagined how it might struggle under my current weight.  Picture it going slow, the music dragging, smoke coming out from underneath…  🙂

There was a rock climbing / wall scaling attraction, and it was kinda funny to see some people try the expert side but then not even get off the first set of handles.  I knew better than to even try that…

We got a candy apple (covered in caramel) there, and it was really good.  Also saw where a concession stand was selling nachos, and I remembered seeing in Walmart a product that advertised itself as the nacho cheese featured in concession stands.  I’m not sure that’s a good way to market your product.  Although when I was a kid, I thought it was good.  But now that I’ve had much better nachos and cheese dip, that “fake” cheese just doesn’t seem so good anymore.  But to each their own…

We did get to see a lot of farm animals, like cows, goats, pigs, and chickens.  There’s nothing like that fresh, natural, barnyard scent, featuring lots of methane and manure.  I guess you get used to it if you work with them.

I was thinking the carnival could’ve been so much more.  I’m sure kids would enjoy it, but there wasn’t a lot of grown-ups.  I would’ve rode the bumper cars, but my long legs don’t fit in there too well anymore.  (I still remember the first time I realized I had become too tall to ride them.  It was a sad day, indeed.)

They should include some virtual reality rides there.  They could be built into a trailer that unpacks, so transport would be easier than the other stuff they had.  And I think a lot of people would be interested in it.  They could also have some state-of-the-art video games.  Maybe next year…


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