There is a simple joy in a fresh homemade roll or biscuit.
The sweet taste of the those first few bites of warm bread and the salty silkiness of the butter.
The sound as the crispy skin is broken.
The overpowering aroma of baking dough.
The traditions passed down from one generation to the next.
It was all on display Thursday at the Summerside Lobster Carnival’s annual roll and biscuit competition.
Take the MacEachern/Crain family for example.
Betty and Dan MacEachern recently relocated to Summerside and their daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Victor Crain, are visiting for the summer, from Mississippi.
Mary signed the family up for the baking competition on a lark.
“We wanted to make a really nice vacation. We never used to get to participate in things, but now we’re getting into retirement, my parents are still healthy, so we decided to do something we’ve never done before,” she said.
“She’s always getting us into things,” quipped Betty.
There were three categories in the competition: Acadian biscuits, regular biscuits and rolls.
Betty and Dan, both in their 80s, have their own biscuit recipes down pat.
“I’ve been cooking forever,” said Betty.
It was a little more complicated for Mary and Victor, neither of whom have any experience baking.
A quick Google search and Mary found a sweet potato and maple roll recipe that caught her eye, which purportedly was the work of a one-armed Jesuit priest. Victor found himself a nice simple roll recipe.
They made some trial batches, which they donated to the Salvation Army food bank, before finally getting a top-notch end product.
“It was trial and error – and prayer,” said Mary.
When it was finally time to present everyone’s work to the judges, there was a total of 26 entries in the competition. A huge increase over the handful from last year’s inaugural event.
“I think they’re good, but I see a lot of experienced bakers in here today,” said Mary, as she sized up the competition.
“We’re just lucky to be on the table with them.”
In the end, neither the MacEachern or Crain families took home any prizes.
But they had some laughs and made some memories as a family.
Which are, ultimately, the best prizes of all.
Winners of this year’s Summerside Lobster Carnival biscuit and roll baking competition were:
- Dorris Moase
- Yvonne Cormier
- Brenda Peters
- Matt Christian
- Dorris Moase
- Linda Shanks
- Jeanette MacLellan
- Lisa Shaw
- Suzan Paddock