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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Chili on an August Evening

The first Tuesday every August is my neighborhood’s Block Party potluck. It's held conveniently held just outside my front door. Un-conveniently, today it was my second potluck for the day. The first was at my office for lunch for which I took the easy way out opting to pay $5 and not having to bring a thing to the event other than my amazing appetite. But for the evening potluck I showed with a cast-iron pot full o’ homemade chili.

Local sheriffs and Neighborhood Watch crew start the ball rolling

Now here’s a first – I totally enjoyed myself. At first I sat hunkered down like I usually do, the fat deer in the headlights, tragically alone and feeling like a pariah. Eventually neighbors began to seat themselves at my table. All were, like me, disgruntled State Workers. We chatted all about what the hell is being done to us as State workers and what was going to happen to us, depending on which gubernatorial candidate wins. I’d explain our conclusions but you really don’t want to hear the kind of swearing necessary to complete our collective thoughts. Anyway, in short, we had a ball.

As the sheriff explains how to stay safe, a neighborhood garage band gets ready to get down

While we chatted a rock band was laying down a beat & was actually pretty good. Their playing was rather better than their singing voices, but with enough great chow in your mouth, you don’t really feel like fussing. And anyway, they played Rock & Roll from my era, i.e., when dinosaurs ruled the earth, so while we chowed down potluck fair, we grooved to the mood.

♪♫Play that funky music white boy! Play that funky music rig-ht!♪♫

Two fire trucks attended the gathering and we had the local sheriff & Neighborhood Watch people give us all the bad news that every year our police protection shrinks a bit. We just lost our Sheriffi’s station that was about a mile from my house. Now there is only one station to serve numerous neighborhoods and it’s quite a drive’s distance from my house. Hopefully we're all to po' to rob now anyway.

♪♫Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you die! ♪♫

Enough speechifying, TIME TO EAT!

I was told by lots of people were curious what was the dish I brought, saying it was delicious but no one knew what it was. THAT my dears, is the first sign your chili recipe might need adjustments. Someone told me they were puzzled because my beefy dish tasted like mild chili, but wasn’t red. It was like an hour later before I realized the ‘problem’ was that I don’t use pinto or kidney beans. Making chili for myself I use mung beans, quinoa and/or black beans. I use ‘all-of-the-above because those are tastier and healthy grains. For the potluck attended by 'normal' people, I just used Black Beans – my compromise - and the usual ground beef. I cooked mung beans too, but then changed my mind at the last second. Black beans do not cook up red and though I use numerous cans of diced tomatoes with jalapenos. My chili was tasty, but not red. Who cares! They ate it up and that made me feel just grand.

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