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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Savory to the Taste (07/26/12)

TITLE: Anticipation
By Deborah Sampson


Tom Matthews stirred his pot of stew several more times, with all the ingredients he had added this year; it should be just about perfect.

This year he was in the running for the Savory Stew Cook-off. This was the fifth year of the cook-off, and his second in entering it.

Last year the three judges agreed that most of the entries were good, but Willis Bates was by far the best. They could not stop talking about the ingredients in Willís stew; the combination gave it a unique taste, one fitting to be the winner.

When the samples were given out to taste, all the people seemed to agree, it was a hit.

This year though, Will had to go out of town on church business and would not be back till the day of the cook off. Tom was sorry to hear it, but it meant this year might be his turn. He looked around at the other entries and summed up that he had the best chance of winning this thing.

Tom shook his head, what was this, a new entry? He moseyed over to the table as the stew was being set down, he could see the man clearer now, it was Bradley Lane, a newcomer to the church, Hum-m, Tom said to himself, he needed to investigate this.

Bradley set about stirring the stew in the round flowered slow cooker, it gave off heavely whiffs of the savory stew, Tom could see bits of perfectly cut carrots, potatoes, peas, celery, and bite sized pieces of tomatoes. Chunks of beef that looked so tender, it could melt in your mouth, boy, Tom would like to find a way to taste this concoction, and the herbs Bradley used smelled delicious.

Tom left to go back to his stew, not that his wasnít really great, he reached for his spoon to stir his stew again, his looked good, had many of the same ingredients. But was something missing?

His church sponsored this event every year, and there would be anywhere from eight to fifteen entries. It would appear to be eleven so far, the judging was set for noon, about an hour to go.

Tom saw his family coming up to the table, his wife, Katy smiling at him, she hadnít change much since they were married almost ten years, now, still as pretty as ever, on one side was their son, Adam, and the other side, a petite version of Katy, was their daughter Candance.

ďWe just want to wish you well, honey, weíll be rooting for you.Ē Katy said, reaching up to give Tom a kiss on the cheek.

ďThanks, guys, I need it this year, I think.Ē Tom reached for the spoon again, "Iíll see you in a little bit."

Tom looked at Bradley again, he knew the Lord said to be gracious, and want good for others, but Tom wasnít feeling like losing to a newcomer, this year it was his turn, and no he didnít like it one little bit, he ought to go tell Bradley to shove off.

Someone just walked up to Bradley, now who was that? Oh yes, itís his daughter Samantha, she was giving her dad a hug, he forgot he had a family too, some of Tomís emotions calmed down.

It was true; Bradley had just as much right as he did to be here, may the best stew win. He knew he had to ask the Lord to forgive him of the not too kinds of thoughts earlier, and he set about doing just that.

The bell rang a few minutes later, signaling it was time for the judging to start.

All the stew was tasted and the judges huddled together to talk over the findings.

"Ladies and Gentleman we have reached a decision, Savory Stew number Nine won. For the second year in a row, we have picked Willis Batesís stew." The judge announced.

ďWhat, heís not here, come on how can that be?Ē Tom asked himself.

"Bradley was so kind to bring in Willís stew for him since he couldnít get here in time. Thanks to Bradley, Willís stew won again!" The judge continued.

The crowd clapped for the winning entry.

Tom, scratching his head just started laughing, he hadnít been right about anything today, except that Willís stew smelled delicious. He aimed to go get a sample of the best tasting Savory stew at Calvary Center. He smiled, maybe next year.

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This article has been read 440 times
Member Comments
Member Date
pam Leitermann08/02/12
Nice Job makes want some stew.
Laura Manley08/04/12
I really enjoyed your story; it had a surprise ending to it which I really like. I think you should probably use more punctuation as you seem to have several running sentences in this entry. Other than that, I absolutely loved this story. It had a few twists and turns and then the surprising ending. Good job!
C D Swanson 08/05/12
This was an imaginative and completely enjoyable story on so many levels.

Good message and loved the ending! THanks. God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/08/12
This is a charming little story. I liked how you built up the conflict and suspense as the clock ticked away. It's funny how little things like that can be so important to us.

One thing you may want to do to make your story even better is work on more showing than telling. Take this sentence:
All the stew was tasted and the judges huddled together to talk over the findings.
Just by changing it a tad, you can paint a picture for the reader like this: The judges tasted each dish, smacked their lips and huddled together to hash out a winner.
It's not much of a change but hopefully it shows the difference from a passive sentence to an active one. Another way to show is instead of taglines like he said, use this spot to give the reader a peek into the emotions of the MC. For example instead of "The winner is Frank," he said. You could say after the quote He rubbed his stomach and looked Frank directly in the eyes. It tells the person who is talking and paints a picture.

You did a great job of writing on topic in a fresh and fun way. You had a nice strong beginning and added to the story making me eager to keep reading. Your transitions were smooth. The ending was great! Instead of the more common idea of having the MC be the winner, you added a fun twist that was quite appealing. I look forward to reading more of your stories.
C D Swanson 08/09/12

God bless~