Deskin wins national award

Decorator learns from three-day Las Vegas cake competition

Las Vegas had never seen the likes of it: flag-waving ants on a cake shaped like a pimento and watermelon, courtesy of Hood River decorator Kim Deskin.

Deskin, who works in Rosauers Supermarket bakery, took second in the three-day cake decorating contest at the Nevada city’s Hilton Convention Center, sponsored by the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association (IDDBA).

Deskin said she had an “absolutely incredible” time at the competition, competing against a woman from Florida and another woman from Ohio.

Deskin was accompanied by her friend, Teri Winston of Troutdale, a former Hood River Rosauers employee, who had urged Deskin to try out for the contest.

“She got me into it, she was going to see me through it,” Deskin said.

Competition lasted at least four hours each of the three days. The first day’s challenge was to build and decorate a wedding cake. Contestants worked with pre-baked cakes under the eyes of two judges — and plenty of spectators.

The third day was devoted to three special theme cakes, starting with the July 4 watermelon cake, then a honeycomb cake complete with bumble bees saying “Bee Mine.” The third theme cake was the required design, an interpretation of the IDDBA logo.

But the second of the three days was the toughest: Deskin had four hours to fill an eight-foot case with decorated cakes, with points earned for each cake completed during that time.

“The biggest obstacle was with this one,” she said.

“Las Vegas had a heat wave going. It was 110 degrees, and the place where the (competition) cakes was two blocks away, so by the time they arrived they were hot and sticky cakes. That made them really hard to work with.

“It was very challenging,” Deskin said, to assemble, decorate, and display the cakes and keep good quality, she said.

“I was pleased with my overall performance,” said Deskin, who stood in a glass booth surrounded by onlookers all three days.

“It was like being in a fishbowl,” said Deskin, adding that she is used to people watching her work at Rosauers, where she has worked in the bakery for the better part of the 30 years.

And now she’s ready for more. Competing in Las Vegas gave her new ideas as a decorator and provided many new contacts for freelance decorating work.

“It gave me a lot of confidence,” she said. “I’m convinced that quality is the way to go.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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