They had to compare apples to lemons, measuring streusel apple against lemon meringue and a variety of others: berries, creams, even a green tomato, the filling bright and stringy as shredded young frogs. The judges tasted the entries, of course, but this was only part of the process. They poked pieces of fruit, smeared custards to inspect for separation, lifted the top crusts of slices like the hoods of classic cars, then peered inside to see how the parts worked together. They broke off crimped crust edges and tested them with their teeth and tongues, playing with texture, the feel of the crumb and the level of salt. Everything came under their scrutiny: pie complexions (too brown or too pale), juiciness (too much liquid on the plate), consistency (hard, gummy, or lumpy), flavor (a little heavy on the cinnamon, not enough zest). The prizes they presented were hard won, from the engraved silver bowl for the blackberry-apple to the green ribbon for the 12th-place peanut butter. Spectators eyed the long line of entries and wondered, wishing to judge for themselves; but no one knew the taste of any one pie except respective bakers and their families, and the judges, now sipping plain water to refresh their stomachs and overworked palates.
Promtp source: Write a judging poem (Poetic Asides, 2012 April PAD Challenge, Day 22).