The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair — On stage and off


08 Nov The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair — On stage and off

Being introduced on stage at The Royal. Note the pristine fingers.

I left the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair yesterday with a cooking demonstration under my apron, a new friend and a Batman bandage on my right middle finger. Two out of three ain’t bad.

My cooking demonstration was a team effort. In the background, Andrew operated the point-and-shoot while Heather Travis, Director of Public Relations for the Beef Information Centre, dished trivia and handed out recipes.

Heather Travis keeps things lively while I sear beef.

Meanwhile, I desperately tried to judge the heat of the pans by listening to sizzling steaks against the cacophony of  PA messages and a cattle auction not 30 feet away. Given the circumstances, things went really well. My proof?

A toddler who gobbled the sample of my pan seared steak in red wine sauce.

After the show, I met up with Lisa Rogak, a travel writer who just happened to be in Toronto between trips to Norway, Scotland and Florida. Lisa travels with a chicken purse named Peckerhead and has the uncanny knack of pulling odd stories from chefs during interviews. Together we wandered the fair. This year, the fair had more oddities and fewer “ahhs.” I blame Peckerhead.

We saw odd sheering…

Llama with pantaloons.

Odd shapes…

Goats about to give birth

and odd hair dos…

Just when things looked normal…

Innocent looking goat

It turns out they weren’t…

Not-so-innocent goat gets into a tug of war with Lisa.

Backup arrives. For the goat.

Goats 2, Lisa 0

Lesson learned, we sought less ornery creatures like 3-day old piglets…

Sleepy piglets safely behind glass

And butter sculptors…

Butter carving contest - safely behind glass

This is not one of the twittering cows...

One of the winning butter sculptures

So, you’ve seen the cooking demo and met Lisa. As for the Batman bandaid? I leave that up to your imagination.

Y'all come back now, ya hear.

The Royal runs through to November 14th. If you go, drop me a note and tell me what you liked best.

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No Comments
  • Jen H
    Posted at 12:46h, 08 November Reply

    I’m so hoping to get to the Royal this week. Totally intrigued by butter carving.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:47h, 09 November Reply

      @Jen H, I don’t know how they do the carving. They’re in refrigerated units. My hands wouldn’t work.

      And the results are so impressive! Hope you have a chance to see the sculptors in action.

  • Don Lesser
    Posted at 14:19h, 08 November Reply

    Don’t know if you watch Weeds, but the Butter Carving Contest a couple of weeks ago turned into a butter sculpture eating contest, the winner to get a fully loaded RV. I’m afraid that’s what I think of now when I see butter sculpture. And where is Lisa’s face?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:50h, 09 November Reply

      @Don Lesser, I don’t watch Weeds, but can imagine that episode was hilarious.

      As for Lisa’s face? She was locked in battle with two ruminants. She didn’t stop to smile for the camera. But Peckerhead had a photo op with one of the Royal staff. He’s such a media hog, which is ironic for a chicken.

  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 18:07h, 08 November Reply

    I love the Royal, but when it comes to butter sculpting, the Iowa State Fair can’t be beat. 2011 will be the 100th anniversary of the Iowa State Fair Butter Cow.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:52h, 09 November Reply

      @Amy Proulx, you win the trivia portion of this blog. Had no idea!

      Never butter sculpted myself. The closest I come is leaving some out on the counter overnight and finding the cats have licked it into an odd shape by the morning. (Dinner guests needn’t worry. I know have a covered butter dish.)

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