My husband thinks I’m too competitive. Which I am. It stems from the high standards for success and overachievement of my childhood, but let’s not get into that. Anyway, if I’m the competitive one I don’t understand why he always insists that our parties become contests or competitions. Wine tasting competition, chili cook-off, dessert bake-off, beer tasting competition, we’ve had them all.
“Can’t we just have a party that doesn’t involve competing?” I’ll ask every time we discuss our next party
“What do you have against competitions?” Matt will reply. And so it always goes.
Sometimes I win out. One time I convinced him to have a potluck. A normal one where people bring food and we all eat it and enjoy it rather than critiquing it for its flaws. That’s when my friend Kyle brought the Epic Mealtime Lasagna to “change the game” and I started to think that competitions are expected at the Menzies’.
I see where Matt’s coming from though. People get more invested in something when they think they could be a victor which makes the party that much more exciting. Instead of bringing a tray of leftover cookies to the party they spend a hundred bucks on fast food and 40 of Jack Daniels to make a lasagna that will blow people’s minds (seriously. that’s what was in the epic mealtime lasagna).
Of course given my own competitive nature, when we have these parties I toss the ‘gracious hostess’ act in favour of my natural ‘cut-throat contender’ persona because I want to win as much as the next guy. More, probably.
On the 23rd Matt and I hosted a Christmas Cookie party at our place for our friends. The rules were simple, everyone brings a cookie, guests vote on their top 5 favourites (with #1 favourite getting 5 points and #5 favourite getting 1 point) and the winner is determined by total number of points.
For our cookie competition I spent a lot of time trying to determine what kind of cookie would be worthy of the win. I make a lot of good cookies but it’s tough to determine what is going to appeal to everyone in a large group of people. I decided on 3 factors- Rich, Chocolatey, and Complicated– and wound up making Peppermint Patty Cookies– a chocolate sable, topped with peppermint fondant and dipped in semi-sweet chocolate- a recipe that was entirely my own creation.
Sounds pretty damn awesome, doesn’t it? Sounds like it would win, right?
Well the head gamemaker, my husband, decided on a last minute rule (once all the votes came in and my peppermint patty came out on top, mind you) that the host of the party couldn’t win.
Say what?!? Why did I even bother entering this goddamn thing then? I was unimpressed.
Can’t you just say that I won, but give the prize to second place? I asked Matt as he tallied up the vote count. I don’t care about prizes, all I care about is recognition.
Why are you so competitive? Can’t you just win humbly without announcing it to everyone?
Umm. . . actually, no.
It took everything I had not to be that asshole and shout out “Lies! Lies!!!!” while Matt read the name of the “winner” and didn’t even give me a fake second or third place.
The number 2 cookie was phenomenal and fully deserved to win that LCBO gift card (seriously Zack, please send me the recipe.) It was a peanut butter sandwich cookie half dipped in chocolate that was soft and sweet and peanut buttery and chocolatey and that everyone was a big fan of.
But between you, me, and the Internets the secret is out that I make the best cookies (even if I only won by 3 points).
And now I can sleep better at night.