Mike dis­cov­ers it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there for guest judges

Times Chronicle - - SPORTSROUNDUP -

It ap­pears that I am now the go-to guy when it comes to fen­nel and dogs in tu­tus.

That’s right, twice last week I was asked to pass judg­ment on both. And I don’t even know what one of them is.

F o r t u n a t e l y, I have friends who re­al­ize I like to have fun, es­pe­cially if eat­ing and JRRfinJ DURunG DUH LnYROYHG.

My friend Marge Ja­coby of Brandy­wine Se­nior Liv­ing at Dresher Es­tates kicked the week off by ask­ing me to be a judge at the “Iron Chef: Best of the Best at Brandy­wine” cook-off at Dresher Es­tates.

Chefs at all the Brandy­wine se­nior liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the area were to square off in head-to-head cook­ing com­pe­ti­tions, with the win­ning chef’s recipe to be fea­tured in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s end-of-the-year cook­book.

Chef Is­siah of Dresher Es­tates in Dresher was to take on Chef Daniel from Se­nior Suites in East Norriton and I was among the judges, a dis­tin­guished panel I might add that had ev­ery in­ten­tion of tak­ing it more se­ri­ously than I had planned to. Hey, if I’m judg­ing food, then I’m there to eat.

In fact, one of the other judges was ac­tu­ally a chef him­self, and he even wRUH KLV RI­fiFLDO FKHI’V wKLWH FRDW to the com­pe­ti­tion, which made him ORRN YHUy RI­fiFLDO DnG PRUH TuDOL­fiHG than me.

While siz­ing up the other judges dur­ing the pregame fes­tiv­i­ties — which in­cluded cheer­ing sec­tions of se­niors, some armed with cow­bells — I de­ter­mined that The Real Chef planned to ask more per­ti­nent ques­tions than what I had planned, among which was, “Are those authen­tic Ginzu knives you guys are us­ing?”

Once the com­pe­ti­tion started, the two chefs were given 45 min­utes to pre­pare a dish that had to in­clude the fol­low­ing items: chicken breast, Brussels sprouts, co­conut milk and fen­nel.

Fen­nel? What in tar­na­tion is fen­nel? I’ve done a lot of eat­ing in my life and I’ve never heard of fen­nel. For­tu­nately, The Blonde Ac­coun­tant knows her way around the kitchen, so I hur­ried and texted her for an an­swer.

Me: “What’s fen­nel?” I typed into the cell­phone. TBA: “Herb.” Me: “Herb who?” (See, I never miss an op­por­tu­nity to go for the cheap laugh, even in my text mes­sages.)

Fen­nel (Latin name: Foenicu­lum vul­gare; Mike’s Made Up Latin Name for It: Bi­gyuck­i­nus Nothanky­ouius) is in­deed a “highly aro­matLF DnG flDYRUIuO KHUE wLWK FuOLnDUy and medic­i­nal pur­poses,” ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­Webs.

It did not look or sound very ap­pe­tiz­ing at all and I had ev­ery in­ten­tion of not of­fend­ing my pizza-and­cheese­burger-sen­si­tive palate by tasting any part of the meal that had touched the fen­nel.

But ev­ery­thing was good (Se­nior Suites de­feated Dresher Es­tates), the chefs were mas­ter­ful and the se­niors were en­thu­si­as­tic with their cheer­ing, al­though I think the per­son who thought it was a good idea to give cow­bells to a bunch of rowdy se­niors cheer­ing for fen­nel should se­ri­ously re­think that de­ci­sion prior to the next cook-off.

The next event at where it ap­peared that my opin­ion ac­tu­ally mat­tered came a few days later at Warmin­ster Community Park dur­ing the 14th an­nual “Paws 4 Life Dog Walk” in sup­port of Gilda’s Club Delaware Val­ley, the lo­cal chap­ter of Gilda’s Club, which was founded in mem­ory of the late Satur­day Night Live star Gilda Rad­ner, who be­lieved no­body should go through can­cer alone be­fore suc­cumb­ing her­self to the dis­ease at age 43.

My pal Craig Peters is on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board and asked me to judge the doggie con­tests, which in­cluded “Best Cos­tume,” “Long­est Ears,” “Long­est Tail,” “Best Owner Looka­like” and “Slop­pi­est Kisser,” among oth­ers.

The only qual­i­fi­ca­tion I needed to be a judge in this com­pe­ti­tion was that I once owned a dog. And I was re­lieved to find out that the “Slop­pi­est Kisser” por­tion of the con­test did not re­quire the dogs to give sloppy kisses to the judges but to their own­ers.

Of course, food was also in­cluded in this event, and even though I was not asked to judge the eats, I did give high marks to the two hot­dogs with sauer- kraut and mus­tard that I had for brunch, fol­lowed im­me­di­ately by the choco­late cream-filled donut that I had for dessert. There’s noth­ing quite like sauer­kraut and donuts at 10:30 a.m.

The wise de­ci­sion that the Gilda’s Club folks made not to serve fen­nel to the dog con­test judges was sur­passed only by the group’s equally-wise de­ci­sion not to give the dog own­ers cow­bells to shake in my ear dur­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

The event was well-or­ga­nized and lots of fun and was for a good cause. In ad­di­tion, I love dogs, so I scratched a lot of ears dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties.

Of course, I could not in good con­science sup­port any dog that was wear­ing a tutu in any of the cat­e­gories be­cause I think it’s a safe bet that even the girl dogs think tu­tus look pretty silly on all dogs. Look into the face of any dog wear­ing a tutu and tell me the dog is on board with that fash­ion state­ment. You put a tutu on a dog in a con­test that I’m judg­ing and I’m au­to­mat­i­cally not vot­ing for that poor pooch.

Now ask your dog to go fetch a SLHFH RI IHn­nHO DnG , PLJKW finG WKDW just funny enough to award that ca­nine a blue rib­bon.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www. mont­gomerynews.com.

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