The Sylvia Edmondson Trophy – Cookery Section Emley Show

At Emley Show last year, I was incredibly surprised to jointly win the Sylvia Edmondson Trophy with Paul Thewlis. This was partly because I didn’t know such an award existed but mainly because I wouldn’t categorise myself in any way as an award winning cook.

Whilst I had grown up seeing my female relatives baking and making preserves, I had never bothered making anything, as they had always supplied me with as much as I wanted. So it was only when they started to pass away, that I found myself needing to buy any jams, cakes and the like. I quickly realised that shop bought rarely tasted anywhere near as good as homemade and if it did, it cost a fortune. Fearing it would be a disaster, it was about 12 months after I decided I needed to have a go at baking and preserving, that I actually tried. The first thing I made was three fruits marmalade which even now surprises me that it sets and always tastes so good. My success with the marmalade led me to have a go at strawberry jam and so I have continued.

When my daughter was younger, for a family day out, we started going to local shows, just as I had done with grandparents. One year to escape the rain, we found ourselves in the home baking tent. Looking around I found myself wondering how my efforts would compare to the show entries. It took me a couple of years of looking at the entries to be brave enough to enter. I guess my worry was that other visitors to the show would judge me unkindly.  I realised eventually that being the winner is very subjective and whether you win or not you have joined in and are a part of keeping the show and our heritage going.

So whether you already cook and bake but have never thought about entering. Or maybe you don’t cook or bake but like to eat and drink. It doesn’t matter whether it’s preserves, baking, flavoured liqueurs or all 3, this year give it go.

– Joanne Sharp Joint Winner of the Cookery Section 2019

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