Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chili Day At The Mansion

It's chilly outside, so I brewed up a big pot of chili inside. I don't have a recipe. It's different every time. But I assure you, it's really chili. Not that Not-Really Chili that somebody is famous for. Mine isn't really from scratch. I tossed in two packets of powdered chili seasoning. Then there was that big pack of The Devil's Playground ground beef, which I am not too fond of, preferring to purchase my meat at Save-A-Lot, but I only made one stop the day of the meat-buying. From that traditional start, I added the customary can of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, a can of diced tomatoes, another can of diced tomatoes with garlic and basil and oregano. I think that's what it was. It smelled like pizza sauce. I only had one can of chili hot beans, so I foraged through the pantry to see what I could rustle up. I found a can of BBQ beans or something. It's a Save-A-Lot brand, and they don't call them Pork 'n' Beans, because there's no pork in them, and the beans are more sweet than tomatoey. Only that can expired in June 2007, so I tossed it out to the dogs, and found another that was good until 2009. In it went, into the bottomless cook-pot , which was crying for something more. So I also stirred in a can of black-eyed peas. A legume, by any other name, is still a legume, after all. This concoction was a bit thick. HH walked in on me stirring the cauldron with two hands. He said it looked really good. I told him I was about to add water. "Why? I like it thick." I explained that my mom and grandma were each getting a quart, and they expected it to be like regular chili. "Who cares what they like," HH said, in that way he has of winning friends and influencing people. When he left the kitchen, I stirred in two cans of water. After all, a long-handled serving spoon should not be able to stand at attention in the middle of a pot of chili. Oh, and I have not mentioned my secret ingredient, of which I added 5 tablespoons.

I must say, that was some good chili. I had it for lunch, and again for supper, with hunk of sharp cheddar on the side. And plenty of saltines mixed in. HH prefers his chili with toast. That is just un-American. Who ever heard of chili and toast? Not me, until I married HH. The #1 son ate a bowl with crackers on the side. I must admit that my mom had offered me some chili hot beans only yesterday, but I politely declined them. You see, they were the large cans, and they were in her basement. I have never known her to get food from her basement. The pantry in her family room, a level below her kitchen, sure. But not the basement. And knowing her penchant for serving 4-year-old Ranch Dressing at holiday dinners, I was wantin' none o' her beans. It didn't help matters when I told her of throwing out my June 2007 beans, and she said, "Oh, there was nothing wrong with them!"

I left my children unattended tonight to run to town for the PowerBall tickets. Don't call DFS on me. The #1 son is going to be 13 in 6 weeks. He actually volunteered to keep his 9-year-old brother. "Let him stay with me, Mom. We're playing the Wii. We'll be fine." I have left him in the house before, but not with a built-in victim, when HH was at the barn. Tonight, HH was down in the woods at his shack. Excuse me: MiniMansion. He had the Scout and his phone. He could be up here in 3 minutes. It's not like I was going downtown to buy crack while HH was in Germany. I was gone from 6:25 to 6:45. I called HH before I left to advise him of the child abandonment. He gave his OK. Of course, I worried about them the whole time I was gone. I can't imagine what I'll do when #1 starts driving. When I got back, HH was in the house with them. He said he was done fiddling about at his cabin. That empty plate with Cherries Jubilee Cheesecake crumbs from the school fundraiser said that he just got hungry for dessert.

Anyhoo, the sky didn't fall on them. They have survived to eat chili another day. And the day after that. It's a really big pot.

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