Competition is not limited to sports or the business and political arenas. It is often the drive of a chef as he or she prepares an award-winning meal. And this was evident at the Pizza Challenge held at the TYC last night where twelve members competed for prizes in four food categories.
The spirit of friendly competition could be seen in the smiley faces of the chefs who made masterful pizzas at home and brought them here for the judges to taste and, most importantly, for nearly a hundred guests to enjoy.
Amelia and Natalie Boivin were the co-chairs of this annual event. They solicited gift certificates from local businesses for prizes and prepared the room for the event. The daughters of Joe and Lori Boivin chose red and white cloths, the classic gingham pattern, to cover the long buffet tables. Richly dark blue cloths covered the tables which held bowls of freshly made garden salads and desserts including thinly sliced watermelon pieces.
"Look at all these platters of pizza," I said to Callie Moran, my assistant. She held a yellow pad as we walked slowly down the aisle.
"I'll do my best to note what kind of pizzas are here," Callie smiled.
Several of the pizzas were of the classic type: Hawaiian with pineapple and ham, Seafood with scallops and bacon, and one with real Lobster Tails, Mediterranean with olives and pepperoni and a Mexican with Fajita that was crafted by Jim and Nancy Hilton.
A few of the gourmet entrants were noteworthy especially the pizza made from roasted pears and goat cheese and the creation that contained mushrooms and Gruyere cheese.
There were also pizzas brought in from local pizza shops, Little Caesar and Market Basket. Yes, Market Basket.
Late arrivers, however, were shocked to see that all the food was gone before seven pm. Most of the chefs brought their pizzas in at six pm, followed quickly by a hungry group anxious to taste the splendid food on the tables.
As this was the first social of the summer season, appropriately on the first day of summer, members enjoyed a chance to renew old acquaintances as well as welcome many new members to the club. Just this past year, over twenty families have joined the TYC, many of them were here tonight with their children.
The pool was open for the first time this season. Jane, the lifeguard, has completed her first year at St. Michael's College in Vermont.
"When did you get your first snowfall?" I asked.
"October 29," Jane smiled. "I couldn't believe it. There was snow on the ground all winter long."
Jane was quite busy as over ten youngsters enjoyed the clean and clear pol water. Thanks to the efforts of John, our pool chair and his helpers.
Activities increased during the night. Several teens played a ball game on the rear lawn, others shot hoops near the garage. Many guests walked along the dock admiring the nearly twenty power and sail boats moored on the docks. A mom watched her three youngsters swim in the salt water at our beach.
The most excitement, however, occurred when I placed our new lawn game outside. It is a large, well-constructed, bean bag throw game, the corn hole variety. It was a gift from Joanne Reuther, our secretary. The game was a hit from the moment that I placed it on the front lawn. Youngsters of all ages began to take turns at throwing the bean bags. Several contests were held including mine with a twelve-year-old boy. We were in a tie situation until, luckily for me, I was called to take pictures. Otherwise, I knew I would have lost as I saw the determined look on his young face.
The second highlight of the evening was the distribution of the Log Books which were hot off of the press at dinner time. The cover photo captures the smiling faces of local sailors as they returned to our dock after an evening of sailing. The book contains all the necessary information concerning activities for the summer as well as memorable pictures from last summer's events. The books which I have been editing for the past forty years will be available at next week's pot luck and then from the stewards during the summer. And, they are free!
Several times during the night, Callie and I walked by the picnic table on the north side of the club. Huddled there were the four judges and Amelia and Natalie who will enter her senior year at LaSalle Academy in Providence. Amelia, a public relations major, will attend Boston University as a sophomore after finishing a year at Connecticut College.
Amelia handed a slip of paper to her mom, Lori, who stood on the front walkway. She gathered the attention of the guests many of whom stood on the second-floor deck and announced the winners: Kids' Creation - a young boy named Spencer, Gourmet - Cheryl Padilla, Most Creative - Angie Knepkens, Dessert - Cathy Fournier.
Guests continued to mill around the grounds of the clubhouse until after sunset. Ralph Padilla did colors and set off the canon for the first time this season as the sun set at 8:24 pm, the latest time of the year.
As guests prepared to leave, they were reminded that the first potluck supper of the summer will be next Thursday night. The theme will be Mexican Night and should be a jumping time!
Hope to see you there.