Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chili Cook-Off

Confession: I've never been a huge chili fan. But, for the chili lovers out there who are shaking their collective heads in dismay, allow me to go into more detail. Some chili is good. If, say, there are no kidney beans, no spicy peppers and no undercooked onions. Also good = most chili that comes out of a can.

I know. I know. I just blasphemed the good name of chili forever.

I'm just saying, give me a hot dog and dump some canned chili on top and we're golden. Hand me a bowl of homemade chili brimming with semi-cooked onions and chock full of kidney beans in all their thick skinned glory and I'm gonna do my best to choke it down. Because my parents taught me to eat what is given to me without complaint, to try things again and again because I just might acquire a taste for them, and to think about the starving children in Ethiopia. Okay--that last one was probably my grandparents and they probably said China.

So it seems that our church has a Chili Cook-Off almost annually. This is one time a year too often for me but I understand that there are people who don't actually like the idea of Cheesecake Bake-Off and The Next Best Chocolatier Challenge. I don't know who these people are that would rather eat chili than cheesecake but I intend to find out. In any case, our (mostly) annual Chili Cook-Off is coming up on Sunday.

I'm thrilled.

Maybe someone will open a dozen cans of Hormel and toss them into a pot. Maybe someone will bring a White Chicken Chili because, well, in that case, yes please! Maybe someone will bring the chili that came to our house on the day we moved from California to Utah because that stuff was gooood. Maybe someone's idea of chili is to make a giant chef salad and just call it chili. Whatever. It'll be fine.

Except my husband keeps referring to it as a Chili Feed.

And, can I just tell you that for mostly inexplicable reasons, that phrase makes my stomach toss itself around like the aforementioned chef salad. Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in Texas. Maybe it's because I could live the rest of my existence on fruits and vegetables and the occasional hamburger and be just fine. (Oh and CHEESE! Because CHEESE! and I could never be apart for long.) Maybe it's because, as I said to our secretary earlier today, it has something to do with the connotation of "feed" implying that one is putting food in a trough for barnyard animals. Then, add chili to the mix and I picture a bunch of humans, leaning over a trough, consuming mass quantities of chili at a rapid pace.

But, you know, I just tried it with other foods as well...foods that I like a lot better than chili. French fry feed. Cadbury Egg Feed. Tostada Feed. Starbucks Tall Peppermint Mocha Feed. Those all sound better, but only slightly. I suppose I just don't like thinking of myself on all fours, inhaling my food. Maybe it's the same reason that the scene in A Christmas Story where Randy pretends to be "Mommy's little piggy" makes me want to toss my mashed potatoes. Because when I hear "chili feed" I totally picture people covered in beans and meat and red sauce as though spoons were not provided.

We don't have to agree on the place that chili has in society and in our mouths. We don't have to agree on much of anything, really. But can we all please agree that putting "feed" on the end of any kind of culinary experience is both uncivilized* and also disgusting?

Especially chili.

*I am not saying that my husband is uncivilized or disgusting. He is neither of those things. In fact, I find him to be quite wonderful. It's just that he was born in Texas. Apparently you can take the newborn baby boy out of Texas, move him to Oregon and Minnesota and California and Utah, but you can't ever take the Texas out of the boy.

1 comment:

  1. I've never had white chili, but I do love a good vegetarian chili. Even with kidney beans :-)