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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Cooking/Baking (not recipes) (10/16/08)




David Earnest, the owner of the Great Owl bakery on Crown Street in Sterling, New Jersey came up with the idea to sponsor a Christmas bake-off contest to benefit the residents of the Dayspring Nursing Home located in the community. He wanted to enlist senior citizens to be entrants in the contest. He told his assistant, Daniel, the idea. Daniel eagerly responded, “Go for it.” David paid a visit to the Judah Senior Dwelling. He presented the idea to the owner of Judah, Deborah Wynn. Deborah glowed and said, “What a warm expression.” David and his wife, Elizabeth met with Deborah several times to mesh
the details. Deborah suggested a men versus women contest with two teams comprised of five women and five men with a leader assigned for each team.

A detailed notice with contest information was placed on the community room bulletin board at Judah. The notice requested that those interested should submit a two paragraph written response to address why they should be chosen to compete. The first seniors to observe the posting were seven women who came in together from the exercise room. One of the women, Sarah Simon, got a twinkle in her eye and said, “This challenge needs me in the mix. Lord, please help me.”

During the course of several days, Deborah had received more than 40 responses. By week’s end, there were more than 70. On Saturday evening, David, Elizabeth, Daniel, and Deborah reviewed the submissions. They prayed, and selected the ten people. The chosen leader for the men was Joshua Ready. Sarah was chosen to lead the women. David, Elizabeth, Daniel, and Deborah went to the community room to make the announcement about the selections. Joshua pumped his fist, “Yes”, he exclaimed. Sarah said a silent prayer. The teams joined in prayer for God to oversee the results.

The room filled with excited chatter. When things settled, all entrants were thanked, and the two teams went with David and Daniel to the Great Owl bakery to begin the Christmas bake-off competition. When they arrived, Joshua told the women that he was thankful for their presence but that the men could win. Joshua said with a smile, “Don’t take your skills for granted, ladies.” The ladies laughed.
Joshua replied, “Men, let’s do this.” The men gave each other high fives and commenced to prepare.
Sarah winked at her team members, and said, “Ladies, let’s show them what we’re working with. They need to know,” she giggled. The ladies roared with laughter. One of them, Rahab, said, “I am woman, hear me roar!” evoking memories of the Helen Reddy song. It was a friendly competition. They teased, and engaged in playful banter.

Sarah and her team whipped up cookie batches using a treasured recipe from Sarah’s family. Joshua and his team used a scone recipe obtained from the Food Network.

It took several hours to get all of the baking done. David and Elizabeth decided to add a twist to the contest. They would pick a winner, and allow a winner to be selected by a team of residents at the Dayspring Nursing Home. Also, the nursing home team would be asked to taste, and to judge the entries as well as guess which team had baked the cookies, and which team had baked the scones.

Weary, but pleased, the team had completed their assignments. David, Elizabeth, and Daniel tasted, and two of them agreed that the cookies were the winning entry. Elizabeth preferred the scones. The final judgment was for the cookies. They all went to Dayspring with their finished goods. The nursing home team tasted, and the majority chose the scones as the winning entry. Also, the majority of them guessed correctly that the men’s team had baked the scones. David asked them why they believed that the men had baked the scones. They responded that to select the scones as baked by women, would typically, have been the natural choice.

David conferred with Elizabeth and declared, “Everybody wins – we have prizes for all!” Dayspring got free bakery goods for a year. Judah got a new piece of gym equipment. And all of the bakers got an all expenses paid weekend trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the city of brotherly love. The team leaders, Sarah and Joshua, each received engraved plaques with the message, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10-KJV)

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joshua Janoski10/26/08
A Christmas bake-off contest sounds like a really fun idea. I am glad that everyone turned out to be a winner and that the bake-off was for a good cause.

My only suggestion to make this piece even better than it already is would be to use more dialogue between the characters to "show" what you are saying rather than just "telling."

Thank you for sharing this story. I enjoyed reading it. :)
Marlene Austin10/28/08
The cooking contest was a good idea. You described the details well. Nice story.