a Chili day in the neighborhood
I love chili.
My mom was never a big fan of cooking. I’m not sure if it just didn’t interest her, because it was no fun cooking in a hot, sweaty kitchen? I mean, she HATES having her hair messed up, and she paints her nails every day, so I can see that cooking would be unappealing because it might involve flour getting on her or a chipped nail if she forgot how the knives worked. But it was probably more that she would rather be watching Richard Chamberlain in the Thorn Birds than making dinner. So I grew up on macaroni and cheese, Chef Boyardee pizzas and greasy homemade tacos, like a lot of other people my age. My mom was skilled with the hamburger helper as well. One of the few meals she actually made herself was chili, and this one isn’t a terribly hard recipe. Couple cans of beans, hamburg, canned tomatoes and chili seasoning, that was about it. She doesn’t like onions. Or peppers. But since the concoction she made when I was growing up was pretty darned good, I’m a big fan of the stuff now. So this year, for the first time, I went to the Chili Cook-off in my town.
Every year my city hosts a Chili Cook-off, but since they hold it in June and it’s always hot as hell, I’ve never gone. Who wants to eat piping hot chili full of spices that blow your taste buds off and make your eyes water when it’s ninety degrees outside? Why they couldn’t have planned this annual festival in, say, September I don’t really understand. But hey, this year I figured I’d give it a try.
Booths were sprinkled throughout the lawn area, and hawkers called you to there stand with humor, flirtation, and sometimes just sheer obnoxious volume. Some of the tents had massive lines, and some had no people at all. Now, at first I thought the obvious: the tents with the lines have the tastiest chili. But then I came to my senses and realized that we had come way too late in the game, and half the tents were already out of food two and a half hours before the event was over. The event was advertised as running from “4-9”, but now I know better: you have to come at 4:00 and eat all the chili before everyone else gets there, then you stay around drinking beer and getting good and pickled until 9:00. I’ll know how to work it next year.
Some of the chili was mighty tasty (you know I already love you, Red Robin, but good job on this as well!) And some of it was downright disgusting. But I mean, our palettes are all different, right? I guess some of us eat dirt a lot more than others and borrow from that taste profile. Anyway, it was fairly fun and a good cap off to “Be a Tourist in Your own Town”, which is what we were doing earlier. My sister and I came home, had some booze and sat on the couch and watched movies. Altogether a really nice day, and I was hard pressed to think how it could have been more entertaining.
Silly me. My life can ALWAYS get more entertaining! At 5:00 in the morning I discovered that my neighbor had gone to the Chili Cook-off as well. From across the street blew periodic farts of such catastrophic caliber that I woke up from a dead sleep. Off, on, off, on: toxic ass farts that could potentially damage the earth’s ozone layer even MORE than hairspray! And even when I closed my windows the faintest little hint of dying animals seeped in as I struggled to fall back asleep and contain my laughter.
ahhh, good old chili.
Posted on June 12, 2011, in biographical, mess of life and tagged beer, Chef Boyardee, chili, chili cook-off, cooking, dinner, farts, fingernails, macaroni and cheese, messy hair, ozone, Red Robin, Richard Chamberlain, Thorn Birds. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.