ONE of the biggest events of the year took place in the newspaper building this week. Wednesday was our annual "Cookout on the Roof."
We all love the freshly grilled burgers, hot dogs and side dishes - as much as we care to eat.
An over-sized grill is set up on the top level of our parking garage on McFarland Street. Hard-working volunteers endure the June heat to keep the coals burning from mid-morning to late evening.
That allows everyone from the early-morning cop reporter to the night owls who run the press to enjoy the meal as it suits their schedules.
All day long, employees make the trek. They cross the pedestrian bridge over McFarland Street and board the elevator that takes them to the rooftop, where they choose their entree and grab a bun to go with it.
Then they head back down a couple of floors to our conference center, where an array of condiments and side dishes await.
After filling their plates, people can stay and enjoy the chance to visit with folks from other departments or head back to their own work areas to eat in peace.
More volunteers take turns supplying and busing the dining area. They work from the small but efficient conference center kitchen.
I'm pretty sure none of this was checked out by the health department.
I'm very sure no one inspected the chocolate pound cake I entered in the dessert contest.
Again this year, I didn't win. However, the winning entries, like mine, were prepared in home kitchens and transported to our building to be judged and then consumed by co-workers.
As long as I'm spilling the beans, I might as well reveal there was a raw egg in the glaze on my pound cake.
Now I've done it. If the health department were to crack down on us as it did the chili cookoff, there might be no more dessert contest. Especially if they hear about my glaze.
However, I support the department's efforts to protect the public. Being sickened by bad food is no picnic. As we all know from news reports, even deaths have occurred.
Still, reporter Billy Wolfe's story earlier this week about the crackdown on the local chili cookoff brings up a question: Where should the regulatory line should be drawn?
Wolfe reported that from now on, the chili will either have to be prepared on site at cookoffs or purchased from stores. Well-intentioned groups that had been preparing pots at home to bring to the cookoff for members of the public to sample may no longer do so.