I celebrated a birthday this past weekend.
Since I'm halfway between milestone birthdays there was no excuse to have a huge gathering but I did want to do something to mark the occasion.
What does a middle aged woman do to mark the anniversary of her birth?
Then I saw it.
The call to home cooks to enter a charity salsa and dip contest. Better yet it was benefiting Care For Real, an Edgewater food pantry.
Most of you know that unemployment has not been a walk in the park for me. There were many times that I didn't have enough money for food after the basic bills were paid so anyone who's feeding people is aces in my book.
Additionally, the demand on food pantries continues to rise every month so if I can do a small part to help raise funds and enjoy some tasty nosh, why not?
Plus I thought it was a unique way to spend my birthday.
The contest was hosted at the SoFo Tap in the Uptown/Andersonville area which also happens to be a gay bar that caters to Bears.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the terminology, Bears are usually hairy heavy set or muscular gay men who are very masculine or project rugged masculinity.
If you like, you can think of it as gay without all of the appearance stereotypes.
Personally I have know about the Bear culture for years and had already gone to the SoFo Tap many times (Yes on dog Saturdays but no to uniform nights) so I was already familiar with the friendly atmosphere of the place.
I sent the appropriate emails to enter and decided to make my standard pico de gallo salsa. Luckily the recipe is so basic that I could get most of the ingredients out of my garden.
I then proceeded to chop, grate and taste my way to what I thought was palatable to a large group of strangers, ( I personally like more garlic) and packed it up it a big plastic bowl and schlepped my way to the north side.
Now mind you I've been reluctant to enter a food competition since the great meatloaf beat down of 2006.
But to be completely honest with you all, I wasn't looking to win. I was curious to see how my humble mixture of vegetables would fare more than anything else. Were other people going to make traditional salsas? I betcha mine won't stand out. God, how many other people entered?
Anxiety started to creep in when I reminded myself that I was doing this for a good cause, to see friends and as a fun way to spend part of my birthday.
I had to build a bridge and get over myself.
I also had to tell my boyfriend who asked to accompany me that the contest was in a gay bar.
All and all it was shaping up to be a very interesting day.
Related Post: The Salsa Contest: The Unexpected Happens
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