Je T'aime Pommes d'Amour

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Does it seem like there are suddenly tomatoes everywhere? After the wet rot of spring that wiped out so many urban farmlets, apparently the second crop is coming in like gangbusters.

Well, you know what they say, "When God gives you lemons, bitch about it on Facebook." No, that's not right. I think it's, "When you're up to your ass in Better Boys, make salsa." So that's what we did in our office last week.

My boss is a no-nonsense kinda guy. I've heard him begin performance reviews with the question, "So how long have you worked here, not counting today?" He's also a real competitor. When faced with the endless stream of bushels of produce being offered up by friends, family, customers, creditors, vendors and random gardeners who obviously couldn't read the damn "No Soliciting" sign on the front door, El Jefe decided it was time create a demand for this surplus of supply. He's pretty Keynesian about this part of the market economy.

Several of us were volunteered to participate based on our willingness to actually prepare and bring food rather than taking the easy route of kicking in $10 toward the Captain D's shrimp platter for our annual holiday brunch. Funny, I always thought "volunteer" was an active verb. Ironically, we were all immediately dunned 5 bucks apiece as an entry fee in this winner-take-all competition. I told you the boss man was competitive.

All non-competing employees were invited to judge the seven entries in a blind tasting.

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With strict instructions to prevent double-dipping, the 40+ jury members took their jobs seriously, even under the gaze of all the contestants including the guy who signs the paychecks.

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After four years living in California, I could not resist the urge to add diced avocado to my tomato/serrano melange. Knowing that avocado in salsa can be a polarizing factor like cilantro in anything, I took my chances. And finished out of the money.

Despite my boss' years of salsa experimenting and my access to every Mexican cookbook in the Scene library, in the end, the peoples' choice was evenly divided between two first-time salsa makers. Nobody chalked it up to beginners' luck, though. Their bold choices of habanero and fresh garlic as base ingredients respectively made their offerings stand out from the rest of the excellent entries.

Stick it to The Man!
  • Stick it to The Man!

Does anyone else out there sponsor regular cooking contests in their workplace? Or is it all nose to the grindstone in this rotten tomato of an economy?

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