Dock Pudding contest 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Many thanks to Hebden Eye and the Mytholmroyd Net for the following:

Doris Hirst wins this year's Dock Pudding Contest. Here she is collecting the trophy at Mytholmroyd Community Centre on Sunday.

The Annual Dock Pudding Competition has caused controversey in recent years. In 2004 it was won by Danish vegetarian chef Jetta (from Hebden Bridge, obviously. She used to be the head cook at Innovations). Subsequently there was a flurry of letters to the editor of the Hebden Bridge Times outraged because the dish is intrinsicly not vegetarian - “bacon is an essential ingredient” it was claimed. Jetta wrote back saying that "40% of the population of Hebden Bride is vegetarian. We must move with the times or the tradition will die". The controversy simmered on without conclusion.

Last year, it was won by 'the twins' - two young girls who used to help a local lady (a renowned dock pudding cook) gather the ingredients (dock leaves and nettles). The lady in question died and the twins, using her unique recipe (which included bacon), won it themselves. There were of course the inevitable murmurings of a 'sympathy vote'.

To explain her own performance in 2005 Jetta confessed that she burned her puddling slightly which, while not dismissing the twins efforts, partly explains why the judges did not rate Jetta’s pudding. This year she entered as a duo with her partner Kevin, which apparently is not against the rules, to avoid the over-cooking syndrome - ie, he keeps an eye on the dish while Jetta is preparing the ingredients (or possibly the other way around).

This year the judges opted for Doris Hirst, a local cook using the traditional ingredients, who you’d have to consider an uncontroversial winner after recent controversies.

The judging is officially 'blind' - that is, each dish is numbered (rather than named) and the judges have no prior knowledge of the origin of the entry. However, it was suggested that by one entrant that the judges "have a strong idea" which dish was entered by whom because of the order of tasting. The competition is held in heats and each dish must be delivered hot.

Hebden Royd Mayor (and Labour candidate for next week's local election),
Stewart Brown announces the winner.

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