The Trophy & the ballot box
Last year around this time, a friend posted a picture on FB of his Macaroni & Cheese and prematurely declared himself the winner of all things noodles with queso. Several people called his bluff, including me, but I took it a step further- I challenged him to a Throwdown.
I suspect I might have to enter him into my small category of friends I fondly refer to as ‘pansies,’ because he didn’t follow through then, and didn’t follow through yesterday either at the First Annual Mac-n-Cheese Throwdown. See, after the FB Posting it stayed in my mind and made it on to my bucket list – #75, where Tori, Chad, and a few dozen other friends felt that declaring a Champion was a worthy cause to gather for.
IkleMac- A top favorite for me! Jen had me with the homemade Parma-Crisps…
We put the invite out on FB, laid down the ground rules and commenced shit talking and witty bantering. It was literally 2 weeks of hysterics online before ultimately 8 competitors showed up (a few, including my above mentioned friend, bowed out due to loss of testosterone) and 20 more people came to judge.
At one point, someone commented to me that they couldn’t tell if this was a party or a meeting, which I took as a compliment for all of us. 1 pm on a Sunday, with not much alcohol in play, lots of kids running around and some serious tasting game faces on yet everyone was having a great time. I was stuffed! After I got home, I kind of wished I had brought some tupperware for some leftovers….
Tasting & Mingling
Seeing as it was our first Throwdown, we weren’t sure what to expect- and there were a few friends who not only rose to the occasion, but also blew us a way. First, I have to say I didn’t taste a single bad dish. All 8 were absolutely delicious, so it truly did come down to personal preference. Some were spicy, some were meaty, some were cheesy…. etc, etc, etc. But the presentation of the dish seemed to possibly also be a factor as it came down to two final dishes that added a little “flare”….
Walt & his Jack & Cheese Fleet
I mean, let’s just be honest, if you are a Sailor who did an entire theme of BOATS filled with Mac & cheese, pulled pork and drizzled with Jack Daniels Sauce, topped with shots of Jack as Smoke Stackers and an ornamental pirate ship as your presentation….. you might win. (P.S.- he brought cider for the kiddos, so sweet of you Walt)
At the same time, if you are Italian and have already won a Turkey Throwdown a few days earlier, and know the importance of subtle flavors of correct spices AND presentation… you might win too….Nick was so confident he didn’t even bother to name his, and it proved to not be an issue- people just described it on their ballot so we all knew who the vote was for. Stuffing dinner into a bell pepper is almost a guaranteed win.
Nick’s…. no name needed
It was for these reasons that we had an inevitable tie between the two. Luckily, Tori & I planned for this and had Plan B: vote again for just these two. Had the two dishes tied again, we would have gone to Sudden Death round: who ever could list the most cheeses they knew of, wins.
Carly & Tori tally the votes
Seriously tho, both dishes were excellently executed so I can see why it was between the two. Jack & Cheese Fleet won by one vote, which was good news for Walt, seeing as he brought his own decorative trophy/Belt. Maybe next time, the man should dress in costume as well and then we won’t need a tiebreaker round!
I swear this guy is hysterical! He wasn’t kidding when he said he had a speech prepared, win or lose. As cocky as he appears though, Walt had a great attitude about the entire Throwdown and was a very deserving winner. I’m glad you won Walt!
I couldn’t have been more pleased with how everything turned out. It was so nice seeing friends I hadn’t seen in awhile, it was nice seeing their enthusiasm for the event, oh and I almost forgot! There was a $5 buy in for everyone in attendance and we raised over $150 for the Dixon Montessori School! Win-Win-Win! There is already talk of the next throwdown, maybe in a few months… Possibly meatballs or cheesecake.
Another favorite- Deep fried Mac N Cheese Fritters to top your mac n cheese….
I wouldn’t mind Meatballs just because the play-on-words surely would gets some good laughs….
Thank you to all my friends! As Bill said, “This is what Dixon is all about.”
Winner Winner Jack Daniels Dinner!