What Does #FoodSport Mean to You?

Posted By: Vic Clevenger

I came across this question the other day while surfing Facebook and to be honest I never really thought about it. I knew I liked food sport and it was tons of fun, but never considered the question, what does it mean to me? Perhaps you’re in the same boat as me having never given it a thought. With that premise, I set out to ask a few people what it meant to them and ended up with a variety of answers. One of my favorites was, “Food sport means samples, because there are always leftovers and tastings.” That’s funny because it’s true, but is there more to food sport than leftovers? I believe there is.

#Foodsport Means Competition

Food sport has been going on since the first person uttered the words, “I make the best pie ever” and someone responded, “Wanna bet?” How many remember Aunt Bee’s “homemade” pickles she entered in the county fair on the Andy Griffith Show? I’ve always had a competitive streak from sports to bikes and now food. Competition feeds into the challenge of being better. Not just being better than the other competitors but also in competition with myself. From contest to contest I view my scores as milestones for personal achievements pushing me to better than I was before.

#Foodsport Means Self Improvement

Before you think we’ve moved into the self-help section of the bookstore, I’m referring to the skills you develop as you continue to grow as a cook. Sure, you can watch the Food Network 24/7 or sit in countless classes, but nothing will replace actually doing it. Hours of practicing in the backyard helps you develop your flavor profiles while you learn how to layer flavors. Then there’s the knife skills, although they man not be perfect, they’ve greatly improved. Remember when you’d just dump charcoal into the grill at the park and now you have developed this skill called, fire management. All this is because of food sport.

#Foodsport Means Having a Blast

Over and over the one item I keep hearing about food sport is, it’s fun. The time crunch of getting a brisket sliced for the turn-in box is a blast. Cooking three or four hogs at Memphis in May is exciting. Putting together two presentation and ten individual desserts from scratch in two hours is exhilarating. Just like most anything we do in life, if it isn’t fun, enjoyable and full of laughter, then why do it at all? Sure there will be frustrating times, just like in any sport, but when you’re sitting at home licking your wounds from a poor showing, and you’re spouse asks if you had fun, you look up with that grin of yours to simply answer, “Yeah. I had a blast!”

#Foodsport Means Family

When you walk around any food sport event, you’re going to see many things but the one which stands out is family. Wives competing against their husbands in steaks and beating them. Husbands and wives competing together during a BBQ event. There’s the Kid’s Ques popping up at events left and right as we continue to raise up the next generation of live fire cooks. Then there’s the BBQ family at large where we step up for one another when the chips are down as well as there to cheer when one family member is riding high from a remarkable win. This is what a family does, a food sport family anyway.

Although food sport has been around for more years than anyone can count, it’s no longer regulated to the county fairs and Rotary Club chili cook-offs. Today its everywhere from the Food Network to the SCA to the countless BBQ sanctioning bodies to the World Food Championships. So, with all of this around us, there’s really only one question to ask yourself, “What does #FoodSport mean to you?”