The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 10, 2012

Mike Pound: Judge a food contest? Of course

By Mike Pound

JOPLIN, Mo. — On Tuesday night, I helped judge the Globe’s 2012 Holiday Cook-Off; today, I will help judge the Chocolate Extravaganza.

I have the worst job in the history of worst jobs.

For those of you who aren’t sure, I was being sarcastic when I wrote that I have the worst job in the history of worst jobs. I’ve discovered since I began writing a column for the paper that you have to be careful with sarcasm. I’ve discovered that sometimes sarcasm doesn’t always come across as sarcasm. So, knowing that, let me repeat that when I wrote that I have the worst job in the history of worst jobs, I was being sarcastic.

When someone calls me and asks if I would like to help judge a food contest, before I answer, the following thought runs through my brain: “IS THIS PERSON KIDDING? OF COURSE I WOULD. But wait, I can’t sound too eager. I always sound pathetic when I’m too anxious. Wait a second ... wait a second ... OK now, answer.

“Why yes, I think I have that date free.”

Sometimes, because of some sort of family conflict, I can’t judge a food contest. For two years in a row, for example, I’ve been unavailable to judge a barbecue contest sponsored by the Joplin Association for the Blind.

Sometimes families really get in the way.

The Chocolate Extravaganza is a fundraiser for the Dream Team of Hospice Compassus. It gets under way at 1 p.m. today and runs until 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 3535 John Q. Hammons Blvd. A host of Joplin area chefs, restaurants, caterers, churches and civic groups are trying to create the “most scrumptious, mouth-watering chocolate confections in the Four-State Area.”

I’m not sure how they plan to get all of that on a trophy, but it does have a nice ring to it.

What I and Globe food columnist Cheryle Finley and KSNF television host Carol Parker have to do is taste the various chocolate creations and try to pick the one we think is best. And while we are judging the chocolate creations, you can too. Your $10 ticket (available at the door) will allow you to taste as many chocolate dishes as you can stand.

I suspect that Cheryle and Carol like chocolate. The reason I suspect that is because they are female people. My wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, are female people and they love chocolate, so I’m guessing Cheryle and Carol do, too.

I, however, am not as fond of chocolate as most female people I know. I used to love chocolate, but since my doctor told me that I shouldn’t love it as much as I used to, I’ve backed off the stuff. But sometimes, after a few weeks of being on the chocolate wagon, when no one is looking I will open a bag of chocolate candy and 30 minutes later wake up covered in wrappers.

Hey, I’m not proud of that.

I should mention that the folks at Hospice Compassus do difficult, yet amazing, work. Working in teams, a dedicated group of skilled nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteers do everything possible to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support for terminally ill patients and their families. The Dream Team component of Hospice Compassus operates in much the same way that the Make a Wish Foundation operates. The idea is to help turn dreams into realities for hospice patients.

So, not only will your $10 ticket get you a bunch of chocolate, it will also help ensure that the amazing work done by the Hospice Compassus Dream Team will continue.

It’s a neat deal.

DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.