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Monday, October 30, 2017

Soup's On Soup-Off



     Hi, my name is Carlee and I come from a (slightly) competitive family. If there's a way to make a competition out of it, we are sure to find it!

     There are usually at least a few people competing in the annual biggest pumpkin contest. This year it was two brothers and my dad vying for the title, but in years past my youngest sister has been a contender.


      They also had to weigh in big tomatoes, onions and potatoes. They claim biggest carrot wasn't a sanctioned event, but if it was Little Dude would have won handily and our tomato plants were easily the tallest at over 9 feet tall before my husband trimmed the tops off. Of course they claim that wasn't sanctioned either, but we all know that's just because they never had a chance!

    We also have the annual boys vs. Girls gingerbread house decorating contest. The boys beat us the first year with tootsie roll deer and everything. Lately though the girls have been bringing their A game! Last year we had a pretzel rod log cabin.


    Luckily it's  (mostly) all in good fun. The only thing on the line is bragging rights. But sometimes that is the most valuable thing anyway and the winner usually takes full advantage.

    These last couple years we've been dragging our extended family and friends into the mix. We've been having a couple of cooking competitions a year. They are blind tastings based on a theme.

     Our first one was a poultry grill-off.  We literally had a ring of fire in the driveway with the grills circled around. Then we had a chili cook-off last fall and a pie-off earlier this year.

     We had been tossing around ideas for this fall's competition for a while. Yet somehow fall snuck up on us and booked up fast. Since we were going to be double booked the day of the event, we settled on a soup-off.


     We already had the logistics of the tasting worked out after the chili contest, so that would be easy enough.  Plus everyone could bring their entry in a slow cooker so keeping things warm was easy as well.

    There were 10 entries and the variety was wonderful. You'd think by now I'd do a better job remembering to take more pictures, but I got swept up in the fun and failed miserably.

    We had some perenial favorites in the mix. Grandma made her copycat Kelly's cheese soup. Nana made her cajun crab chowder, a Christmas Eve tradition. MiMi made the roasted apple and white cheddar soup that 4 Sons 'R Us made for #appleweek.

     After a lot of back and forth, I settled in on my chicken pot pie soup which tied for third. The husband of the pie champion decided to take the reigns for this one and got the other third place spot with a bacon cheeseburger soup.


    My brother K.C. snagged the first two plaques in this series of competitions. His turkey bacon explosion and chili were both crowd favorites and he's had a target in his back ever since. It was harder for people to pick out his soup in the crowd and purposely vote against him. (Not that anyone would do that 😉) So his loaded baked potato soup snagged second place.


     The first place plaque ended up going to my husband's cousin and uncle. They also got the most miles traveled award. They were visiting from the Seattle and Portland areas and we were happy they could participate in the competition. They made a pumpkin chili and a soup loaded with beans, shrimp and sausage. Both were delicious but the sausage and shrimp won the crowd over! Too bad I didn't get a picture.

     I tried to tell them that winning obligates them to participate in future competitions. We'll see if they book their plane tickets for the next one!


    I've had a few questions about the mechanics of the contest.  We've tried a couple of ways. The first one we had a judging rubrix. That was fun but a bit complicated. After that we moved to using poker chips. Each judge gets a fork or spoon and three chips.

    For the soup and chili we bought small paper cups, the size you'd have in your bathroom. We label them with letters, A-J this time for 10 soups. We usher everyone out of the house and secretly serve up a couple bites of soup A into the A cups. We pass those out and keep going until everyone has had a chance to try them all.

    My husband prides himself on a super secret way of labeling the soups and making sure they are served in a different order than they arrived, but you can do it however you like. We also have notepads and pens out in case anyone wants to take notes and they usually do.


    Once all if the soups have been tasted, people cast their votes by dropping their chips into tubs with the corresponding letter on it. They can vote for three different entries or all for one. There is just a small slit cut in the lids to keep people from voting based on other votes and sometimes we even preload some chips in there just in case people try to peek! 🙄

     So that is a quick overview of our Soup's On Soup-Off. One of these days I'll get my name on the plaque! In the meantime I'll blame it on the fact I was also making desserts, snacks and punch. Have you ever had a cooking competition? We'd love ideas for next year's themes!


22 comments:

  1. Oh how I love me some soup and how I adore your competitiveness and how your Mr. Secretly labels the soup! I want to enter this fun and yummy contest, lol!! You guys are the BEST!

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    1. He is so funny about his labels! We need secret decoder rings to figure it all our afterward! You are definitely welcome for the next competition!

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  2. I love all of these fun cooking contests your family does! All of the soups sound delicious.

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    1. They were all so good and such a great variety of soups. No duplicates in the bunch!

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  3. What fun! Family and friends and SOUP!! :)

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  4. We love getting to benefit from the Rees competition gene!

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    1. We are happy to have you as judges!

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  5. You all are to much fun!!
    I do want a taste of that winning soup, it sounds wonderful... and perfect for the cool days we have been having!

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    1. It is so much fun to see what everyone made and try them all! Thanks xoxo

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  6. Competitive-hmmm-I resemble that comment. I'm looking forward to bringing my A game to the next competition.

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    1. Me too! I need my name on that board!

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  7. That is so much fun!! 👌

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  8. Hi Carlee, and this explains why you can keep coming out with tempting recipe after tempting recipe! One of my favourite things about winter is the soup. I love it and would happily have it everyday, but I realise the rest of the family don't feel quite the same way. I don't think there's a soup I wouldn't try!

    I'm not really of a competitive nature which is just as well because my husband and daughter both are. I know Mum compares what I cook to her style, but I just humour her.

    xx

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    1. I am a big soup fan as well, but my husband isn't so I try to only make it every so often. So this was a fun chance to get my soup fix!

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  9. What fun! I want to be part of your family! I always love some good competition, especially when it comes to food! Thanks for joining Friday Frenzy!

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    1. We have the best time planning and participating in these cook-offs! You are welcome any time!

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  10. OMG, I adore this idea- I love the whole idea and process and the way you hand it all out- pinning for parties in my future!

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    1. You should totally have a soup-off. We have the best time doing cook-offs like this!

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  11. This is such a terrific idea! Such a great way to get the family together and have a fun (and tasty) time!

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  12. So many lovely soups! I want to try them all! PINNED!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!