The 2011 Chocolate Chip Cookie-Off: Bring it!

From the moment I became a mom, I was determined to make the best chocolate-chip cookies. A cookie so delicious it would lure little Hansels and Gretels into my home, thus acquainting me with the children my girls play with. These children would leave spellbound, unconsciously driven to keep my girls safe so they were assured access to my freshly baked cookie-scented kitchen.

Having hunted down the best recipe (my friend Shevaun’s Auntie Joanie’s — I will not disclose her location), and having put in my 10,000 hours of baking, I have perfected the chocolate-chip cookie. To prove it, I am entering these examples of culinary perfection into the Chocolate Chip Cookies class in the Domestic Science category at this year’s Cowichan Exhibition.

To my surprise, when I mentioned this to my friends, instead of kind words of encouragement and acknowledgment of my inevitable win, I was met with contention. “Oh, you are on!” my friend Leanne said, competitive juices making her hop from foot to foot like Rocky Balboa before a fight. Heather was more subtle but just as cunning in her attempt to rattle my confidence, “I might enter more than one class.” Especially cocky given she is due to give birth around the time of the competition.

Hearing our hysteria, our misters were curious what all the commotion was about. Glancing through the competition catalogue, one of them noticed “Cake, made by a man”,  a class so politically incorrect it’s charming.

The men brainstormed a few ideas: steak cake; anything cooked on a carburetor (if the mister can identify a carburetor I’ll give him the $5 prize money); and phallic-shaped cakes, thus reminding us why they have a category of their own.

The CowEx is a massive event and has something for everyone: ducttape (professionals may not enter), carving for children 5 and under (who let them at the knives?!), a tractor pull (our favourite last year) and miniature horse competition. It is antiquated, old-fashioned family fun that is more entertaining than ever thanks to our farm-less lifestyles.

Think you’ve got a chocolate-chip cookie to beat all? Bring it!

When: September 9 – 11
Entry forms due: September 3 at 5:00 p.m.
Cookies (and other baked goods) due: September 8 at 5:30 p.m.
How to get there:


  1. TASTE the Cowichan in all its GLORY – at the Cowichan Exhibition! Love love LOVE IT.
    My ‘mister’ has a few ideas for cakes of his own….
    Great writing as always Maeve. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Patricia. Have you seen the list of entries? I’m sure there’s something you could lend your artistic eye to.


    1. It’s a shame it couldn’t be a public vote. I could make campaign posters and everything. I hope you’ll consider entering, Barb. You can show us young-uns a thing or two, I bet.

      See you there!


  2. Fab writing Maeve! Was I really that cocky? 🙂 I think I will enter “date and nut loaf” category and leave it at that. I’ve had your cookies and they are DIVINE — you have the category all sewn up. For his “Cake, by a man” entry, Steve’s still trying to figure out if it’s possible to bake a cake in a tool box using mostly meat and hot sauce. As the rules state, I am not allowed to help him in any way. Go for it baby!
    P.S. Speaking of sewing, as an additional challenge, perhaps we should consider entering the “sewing pockets on an unfinished dress” category or, better yet, “most unusable piece of clothing sewn by a woman” class. Are there such categories?

    1. There isn’t a category for “unfinished sewing, by a woman” but if there were I’m sure it would be overrun with entries. I’m relieved you’re not entering the cookie class. You are stiff competition, even in your condition. Leanne’s been shopping for her ingredients already. Exciting!

  3. And in response to Maeve’s plan to source the best organic butter she can find for her cookies, I’ve decided to buy a cow. Um…does anybody know where I can pick up a churn? :)-

      1. Maeve, really…you know that size doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with the chocolate chips that counts. Please refer to Heather’s post; I’m obviously the underdog here. Even this morning, my mister said to me, “I’ve had Maeve’s cookies. They’re really good. Um…why don’t we go through the categories and find something you’re really good at baking?”

  4. Hi Maeve!
    I love this piece and wish you and Richard the best of luck in your categories!
    Would you be willing to give me your recipe? I figure living here in Southern-ish Alberta is far enough away from your neighbourhood( for cookie bragging rights) and I would love saying that my cookies are from the award-winning recipe of my friend Maeve’s friend Shevaun’s Auntie Joanie!
    Keep on writing!!
    hugs, Marni

    1. Marni,

      I’d tell you, but then I’d have to…well, you know. And I like you too much to resort to that.

      If (when) I win, I will send you some cookies in the mail.


  5. Ooooh! This could be good… Where can I find these categories that you speak of? I am really hoping that they might have some of these:

    -Best unfinished scarf knitted by a woman who has forgotten how to knit.
    -Most unfinished scarves knitted by a woman who has forgotten how to knit.
    -Most fabric hoarded by a woman who doesn’t really sew.
    -Biggest arsenal of scrap booking supplies by a woman with no intentions to scrap book. Ever.

    I could go on. Can we suggest categories? Can we do our own rogue competition in November?

    1. In that case, I better stop finishing the girls’ unfinished works of art. Could be winners in 25 years’ time.

  6. I am so looking forward to seeing what you and The Mister bring in to the Fair! After reading that list of suggested classes for unfinished projects, I think the Cowichan Exhibition should definitely add one or two of those ‘new’ categories to its catalogue for next year. For now, your friends can take a closer look at the choices in Your Old Treasures (Division 25). AOV is always an option…and seeing such a ‘treasure’ and its story in the display case is bound to make more than one woman smile…and think about what’s buried in the back of HER sewing room closet.

    Hmmm, is that the reason for Mona Lisa’s famous smile??!!

    Love your writing, Maeve…enjoy your visit to the Fair!

    1. Thank you Alison. You are an inspiration to us younger Maple Bayers. What did you tell me? You’ve been submitting entries to the exhibition for 50 years? Fantastic.

      I’m looking forward to your entry(ies?) this year. See you there!


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