First-ever event well worth repeating

Published 5:17 pm Saturday, June 6, 2009

If you were not one of the 175-or-so who took part in last weekend’s first-ever Taste of Murfreesboro event at The Commons, you missed out.

In the interest of full disclosure here, I need to stop and tell you that my wife, Sherry, is the executive director of the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce, the organization that sponsored the event. I’ll even go so far as to tell you that, had the affair been a bust, I would not be writing about it. As the old saying goes, I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.

But it wasn’t a bust. In fact, it was a blast.

Sherry did her share to make it that (and, frankly, so did I – I put up with her worrying about it for the last week or 10 days, but I handled it like a man: When it looked like she was stressed, I went and hid) but so did lots and lots of other people.

I’d get into trouble if I tried to name them all, but foremost was probably Jen Hodge, who owns The Commons and who let the chamber use it for the event. Jen worked hard getting The Commons ready for the event and then cleaning up after it.

Digressing for a moment, Jen, who is an accomplished chef with a certificate to prove it, damaged her reputation during the Taste of Murfreesboro, however. Jen is proud of the chili she makes and serves at The Commons and even after tasting mine (I was one of the cooks whose favorite dishes were served at the event) declared hers to be superior. She also, however, has admitted that hers is a California recipe, which probably says all that needs to be said.

Getting back on track…

Here’s how the Taste of Murfreesboro worked: You bought a ticket for $10 (unless you waited and bought it at the door, and then it was $12.50). That entitled you to sample more than 20 dishes prepared by 17 different Murfreesboro area cooks.

Maryetta Flowers – another professional cook – brought several dishes, but my overall favorite was her tenderloin (how could tenderloin not be anyone’s favorite?) and horseradish sauce. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.

Murfreesboro Mayor Lynn Johnson and Carol Piper both brought chicken salad, but, though both were delicious, neither resembled the other. (The moral to that story is that chicken salad ain’t just chicken salad.)

Charlie Aycock brought shrimp and grits that must have been fantastic, because he ran out before I got there. In fact, he ran out of grits first, and, for a while, was just serving shrimp.

Murfreesboro Town Administrator Cathy Davison brought Chesapeake Bay Crab Dip that had folks oooh-ing and aah-ing, and Danny Blowe brought a hot pineapple salad and a marinated bean salad, either of which would take the blue ribbon at anybody’s county fair.

The complete list of all the cooks ran in last Tuesday’s News Herald.

As good as it was, the food was at least matched by the fellowship at the event. And the music, as provided by the talented Potecasi Strings, added another wonderful element to this grand event.

I’m not sure whose idea the Taste of Murfreesboro was, but it was a really, really good one, and one I hope the chamber will turn into a reality again.

David Sullens is president of Roanoke-Chowan Publications and publisher of the Roanoke-Chowan News Herald and the Gates County Index.