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Self-control heads south for food judge

Do not eat the whole thing, I kept telling myself.

Just one bite, right?

I had been invited back for the second straight year as a Manatee County Fair food judge, an enticement I appreciated.

Even if it was one week into my New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds.

So there I was last Saturday at the fairground’s Kendrick Auditorium, along with some 30 discriminating folks gathered to discern the delectable qualities of baked goods and preserved foods made by the loving hands of somebody’s mama.

A “weighty” responsibility, indeed.

We’d be scoring appearance, texture and flavor.

One bite at a time, right?

First up was a strawberry preserve.

I put a dab on a cracker and took a bite.


Gave it 5’s across the board. But I left the rest on the plate.

Next was some dessert concoction with marshmallows. It wasn’t really to my liking.

Ditto for the tilapia appetizer.

The squash casserole, either.

Left plenty of each on the plate.

So far so good.

Then my self-control wavered.

A sampling of spaghetti and pork started it.

Took a bite, then another and another and it was gone.

Five’s across the board.

OK, back to business.

One bite, right?

A chocolate chip cookie was put in front of me.

Uh, oh.

My resolve went south.

I ate the whole thing.

Followed by the slice of lemon cake.

Followed by a scrumptious creation made with cornflakes, butterscotch and peanut butter.

More 5’s.

I backed off on the next two offerings -- a brownie and an oatmeal yogurt cookie -- but went all-in again on the following pair of goodies.

A cherry oatmeal bar and a blueberry cheesecake with whipped cream.

Both were 5’s all the way, calories be hanged.

I managed to nibble my way lightly through the final three offerings, including a “cake pop” -- a chocolate-covered ball of cake on a stick -- but the damage had been done.

Just one bite, right?


I hit the gym hard Sunday morning.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL. 34206 or e-mail him at Please include a phone number for verification purposes.