Glenys Rapsey’s kitchen might be small, but is has produced a multitude of award-winning baking in the past two decades.
Mrs Rapsey has been flat out this week, making items to be entered in the cookery competitions at the North Otago A&P Show.
A batch of scones was in the oven when the Oamaru Mail arrived at the Duntroon house where she and husband Alf, who now have a newborn grandson in the family, raised their five children.
The Rapseys began their involvement with the local show when the children took along their pet lambs as preschoolers. They have also boosted the ranks of cattle entries for many years, and Mrs Rapsey has amassed “boxes” of ribbons, tickets, and assorted prizes.
When asked what she was entering this year, she simply said “heaps”. It takes several days’ work to create goods she feels are worthy of submitting to the judges.
“I pick out the best of the batch.”
A new oven installed nearly a year ago has helped – the previous one must have been a “dud”, she said.
However, the power supply fluctuates, sometimes affected by nearby dairy farming electricity demands. If the power plays along, her large fruit cake can be cooked in two hours. If it’s on the blink, it can take six hours.
Mrs Rapsey’s recipes are mostly taken from her collection of cookbooks. When making meals, she makes adjustments after tasting as she goes.
One of her signature cakes, a Black Forest Gateau, is a genuine German recipe she found in a book borrowed from the Oamaru Public Library. It is often requested by friends and family for special occasions.
Her carrot cake is another local legend, topped with her own special icing.
Meringues were an early success story for Mrs Rapsey. She used to make them as a child and the first ones she entered in the show were a winner. She has never achieved that pinnacle with subsequent batches, and admits she’s no good at making pavlovas.
Her preserves, on the other hand, have earned many show prizes.
She has not entered knitting or sewing sections, though.
“I’ve not got time to do handcrafts.”