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Bad Cooks, Etc. 


Put yo' hands in th' sky if ya can't bake a pie!

Though my all-time worst kitchen disaster involves a solid wall of flame from the stovetop to the ceiling (don't ask), last week's baking debacle runs a close second. Owing to a leaky pan, I managed to ooze chocolate cake batter all over the countertop, the rug, the linoleum, my clothes and, worst of all, the oven's floor. Thick smoke, beeping fire alarms and a frazzled feline spread throughout the house. I hung my head, a defeated man.

If only I'd had the foresight to videotape my elaborate failure, I'd have a shot at winning the lovably sanguine America's Worst Cook contest. Now in its second year, the contest scours the destroyed pans and burnt potholders of America for the nation's worst cook and offers, as first prize, a trip for two to take cooking classes in New York City. Entering is easy: just go to the website and in 200 words or less, along with a video or photograph, explain why you, or someone you know, is an exceptionally lousy cook. If the site's video clip is any indication, you'll be up against people who put Frosted Flakes in their omelets. See for details.

Quality cooking abounds this weekend at Cirque du Gourmet , a benefit auction dinner held by Harmony Ark, the nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the educational experience of students in the Harmony Union School District of Occidental and Salmon Creek. A dinner prepared from local ingredients by area chefs Snap Gonella and Pierre Bernier highlights an evening of slow foods, local wines and eco-awareness, while a jazz band, fire dancers, stilt walkers and other spectacles entertain the senses.

With promised funding for schools both this year and next taken away by Gov. Schwarzenegger, Cirque du Gourmet's auction—with sports tickets, motorcycle lessons and a week's vacation in the limerick-friendly hamlet of Nantucket—should assist the kids in getting the education they deserve. It all goes down on Saturday, May 10, at Occidental CYO, 2136 Bohemian Hwy., Occidental. 5:30pm&–10:30pm. $55. [ ]

Quick dining snapshots by Bohemian staffers.

Winery news and reviews.

Food-related comings and goings, openings and closings, and other essays for those who love the kitchen and what it produces.

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