Monday, November 4, 2013

Of chili dishes past ...

Chuck flips through an old cookbook trying to find me a recipe for chili. He's already verbalized one off the top of his head:

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add beans and ...

I can't work like that. I've been cooking for at least five years, but still prefer very clear instructions. Meanwhile, less than an hour ago he chucked a bunch of veggies into a pan, mixed in some eggs and created a restaurant caliber breakfast for us. He's a kitchen free spirit, I guess. And I'd say "show off," but i don't want to do anything to jinx a repeat performance. 

He finds, in the cookbook, photos from my friend Ethan's going away party. My 22 year old body getting tossed like a rag doll over my friend Hank's shoulder. Then there is one of Fannie on a toilet, pants around her ankles, socks up to her knees pretending to chug from a whiskey bottle. Our friend Pucci, a photographer, had staged, directed and shot it. It's like an edgy-but-tasteful advertisement in Sassy magazine. 

Chuck flips the cookbook in my direction to show me a chili recipe. 

"It's That One," he says. 
My eyes get wide. I groan. That One. 

Years ago, armed with oh-so much bravado, I'd made this chili recipe. There was no skimping on peppers and spices. I wanted something dragon-esque. Something so spicy, I'd never have to shave my legs again. Something that had to be registered with the ATF. Something that really said: YOU CAN'T HANDLE MY CHILI. 

Chuck reminds me today that he squashed his spiceometer and just ate the damn chili. But it didn't feel good and he certainly didn't go for seconds. 

I conceded that it was hot, for sure, but as a heat seeker, it was tolerable. 

The leftovers were another story. After a day of rest, the mix was toxic. Could be used to power a snowblower at least. But there I was. Chin deep in the sludge. Able to handle the spiciest of all spices. This is me in bikini briefs flexing. 

That night I woke myself with my own moans. I was on the floor next to the bed writhing. Twisting my body into every letter of the alphabet. 

Chuck found me like that and shot out of bed. 

"I thought I was going to have to take you to the emergency room," he recalled today.
I think at the time he thought I was having a heart attack.  

Eventually life went back to normal. There was no irreparable damage -- at least not physically. It just felt like there was going to be. 

But I did learn that I don't always have to shoot for the superlative. That it's ok to just make chili instead of CHILI!


kt said...

I have a great recipe if you want it...a combo of Hack Tobin's and Al Roker's chilis.

Christa said...

Sure! Do send!