Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published July 8th 2014
No Cooking Skills Required
MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off, The Great British Menu, The Taste; these are all great reality TV shows featuring amateur cooks competing for baking glory. At the end of these shows, there is often a comment saying that if you want to take part in the next series then fid out how online.
Have any of you ever considered doing that? If your a foodie, I bet it has crossed your mind, even if only for a split second before realising, 'oh wait, I can't cook.' At least not to the standard of the contestants you've just seen battling it out.
Despair not, for here are seven food competitions that require no cooking skills whatsoever. This is a list of seven of the silliest food competitions in the UK. What's their point? None. Why do we have them? Because Brits take pride in being eccentric. So whether you are mad enough to take part, or just looking for a giggle, take a look at why it is so much fun to play with your food.
Since the fifteenth century, every year on the May Bank Holiday people gather at the top of Cooper's Hill to chase 9lbs worth of Double Gloucester cheese as it rolls down at speeds up to 70mph. The first person to reach the finish line wins the cheese.
Traditionally it was just a contest for the locals, but has since become a popular worldwide event. There are four races in total, and last year and American man and Japanese woman took two of the prizes. Last year also saw for cheese for the first time being replaced by a fake for safety reason, as in the past many people have been injured after being run over by the cheese.
Some time in the late 1980s, two farmers argued about who had the tallest nettles. One of the promised to eat any nettles that were taller than his, and thus the World Sting Nettle Championship was born. It takes place at the Bottle Inn in Dorest as part of the an annual charity beer festival. The competitors are given two-foot long nettle stalks, and must eat as many stinging nettles as they can in one hour.
3. The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships
Image from calendarcustoms.com
The war between the Yorks and Lancastrians isn't over yet. Battle recommenced in the 1980s with the arrival of the The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships in Ramsbottom. Yorkshire Puddings are stacked by the dozen on high pedestals, and contestants have three chances to knock as many off as they can by throwing black puddings at them. You might think its bizarre, but if you think about it, it's not that different from a coconut shy.
In America they have spaghetti wrestling, he we do it in Lancashire gravy. This is a new tradition on the block, having started in 2008. Contestants must wrestle for two minutes, and the winner is determined by audience applause.
Olney. 1445. Shrove Tuesday. A woman is late for shriving service, and is in such a rush runs down the street with frying pan in hand. And so every Shrove Tuesday the women of Olney don aprons and caps, and race one another to church with their pancakes. They must flip their pancake at both the start and end of the race, and prizes go to the winner, oldest participant, and person who raises the most money for charity.
6. Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking Competition
Image from calendarcustoms.com
The date of when the Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking Competition is a little hazy; it goes back to at least the eighteenth century but there are suggestions that it could have been earlier.
Origins of the event begin on a hill in Hallaton Leicestershire, where two women were walking. Suddenly a bull began chasing them, but they were saved when a hare ran across the field and distracted the bull long enough for them to get away. After that, the women's village honoured the hare every year with a festival, that included Hare Pie filled with beef. One year the neighbouring village stole Hallaton's beer barrels, but the villagers chased after them down the hill and recovered the beer.
Now the beer kicking competition is an annual event, with the winners getting lots of beer, and everyone eating lots of pie.
And so we come full circle with another cheese rolling competition. During the mid-twentieth century, the village of Stilton was a quiet unnoticed place. To bring in more business, began rolling Stilton cheese down the street with a stick. First people watched, then people joined in, and then it turned into an annual competition. Contestants play in teams of four, with everyone having to at some point roll the cheese. It is a knock-out competition starting with a quarter final.