I love to compete, so it’s no surprise that I’m in two Fantasy Football leagues and one weekly cooking competition; I like to win, too, which is why it’s a little bit surprising that I’m 2-3 in both leagues and, now, have dropped from 3-0 to 3-1 in the cooking competition.
One of the leagues, I’m not too worried about. Sure, I’ve started slow, but that’s not least because my quarterbacks, Trent Green and Jake Delhomme, have started slow too. Well, Delhomme seems to have things going again — he’s a very consistent QB — and, with his big protector Willie Roaf back, Green should get better again. Plus, I have stud RB Tiki Barber, a productive Alge Crumpler (a late-round steal!), and a surprising Keenan McCardell, so I should be able to win a number of shootouts down the road. Just waiting for things to get turned around, and I should be playoff-bound.
My other league was kind of a disaster from the beginning. I drafted right in the middle, and I’m oh so bad there — I can leverage the bottom corner or a top pick, but the middle just screws me up. I picked bad, reached way too much too often, didn’t get many of my targets, and wound up with Ahman Green as my #1 RB and Michael Clayton as my #1 WR. Despite being 2-3, I’m in dead last in this league, and will do well to stay out of last place as the season goes on; the lone bright spot in this team is RB Brian Westbrook, a real steal (balanced out by my awful Aaron Brooks selection, at the very least).
So, with one league probably headed in the right direction and the other probably hopeless, my only worry is the cooking competition; and I’m very worried.
I started 3-0, by virtue of better recipes and better execution. But, last week, we saw that Shannon, my competition, could really bring it, if she could just execute consistently. Trash talking started early, on Monday, anticipating a real showdown for Wednesday night’s class (we always microwave our dinners during the break, coming at about 8pm during a 6:30-9:30 class, then eat them in the classroom and trade bites). Inspired by this competition, I brought my A game — my barbecue chicken, with homemade barbecue sauce beloved by my friends, and the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever made. The potatoes are stunning, creamy and smooth after being reheated even now, three days after I cooked them. Restaurant-quality to say the least. The chicken is cooked just right, and the barbecue sauce is good, a little too tangy but interesting. Next time: add some sauteed onions to increase the smoky flavor.
All of this is to say: I brought my A game. I was on fire. I reheated my food, smelled the aroma, and we traded bites. Shocking — we were tied! So we brought in a third party and he named Shannon winner, not without justification. So, I’m worried. I need to elevate my cooking beyond anywhere it’s consistently been before if I want to take this home next week and turn this competition around. I need to be strong and on top. This is a solid challenge, and I’m excited to see where it goes next.