Last night was the thrilling finale (at least I think this is the last event) of Stevie’s birthday celebration for 2012. She opted for a chili cook-off, which seemed strange to me, but hey, it’s her birthday and she’ll have a chili cook-off if she wants to.
When it comes to chili, I am a purist. A chili fundamentalist, if you will. There should only be four ingredients in chili: meat, beans, tomato sauce, chili powder. That’s it. Simple. Even I can make chili. No cheese, no sour cream, no chopped tomatoes, onions, or chilies. No special herbs and spices. Chili should be red, not white. Chili made with chicken is not chili, call it something else. Oyster crackers are acceptable but not necessary. Cornbread as a side is not necessary but oh, so delicious.
Due to my strident rules on chili I do not get invited to judge chili cook-offs, which is for the best. When we arrived at the Finley home the judging was well under way. Out in the garage nine crock pots were set up on long tables. I grabbed a cup and looked over my options. In the first pot there was corn. Corn in chili? There’s no corn in chili. And yet, there were two pots with chili con corn. What next, chili with peas?
The grand prize winner was cooked by Greg N — and let me tell you, I’ve never seen anyone so excited about winning a chili-cookoff (although to be fair, I’ve never been to one before so I don’t know how chili-cookoff winners typically act). I tried a cup and it was pretty good, despite having things in it I didn’t approve of. I also tried some that used steak instead of hamburger and it was also decent.
Everyone kept going on about how spicy Mel’s chili was, so I decided to give it a shot even though it was the dreaded white chili. Wow, that was truly spicy. And surprisingly tasty. It was far and away my favorite chili of the night, although I still wouldn’t call it chili. Mel wound up winning the Fan Favorite award.
After the awards were handed out half the crowd took off and the remainder stuck around for the MU-KU game. And now, we must backtrack for a bit.
The Wife is quite the Mizzou supporter. For many years she wanted one of those tiger tail things that people hook on the trunk of their cars. For many years I resisted. Last year I finally bought her one because it made for a relatively cheap birthday present and hey, it’s not like she’s sticking it on my car.
But then yesterday afternoon she puts on all her Mizzou wardrobe — black pants, Mizzou sweater, earrings and tiger ears then comes to me and says,
“Would you pin this on the back of my pants?”
“My tiger tail. Would you pin it here?”
“That’s for the trunk of your car. Not your trunk.”
“It will be adorable.”
“It will be embarrassing.”
“Our friends will love it.”
“Our friends are crazy.”
“You have no school spirit.”
“I will have nothing to do with this.”
Somehow she managed to pin the thing on herself and we went out — in public — with her dressed in tiger paraphernalia from her pointy ears to her tail-end. This from a woman who does not dress up for Mel’s annual Halloween party. And don’t think I haven’t offered to buy her a Wonder Woman costume many times.
No, I did not take a picture.
Mizzou did end up winning — barely — so maybe I’ll make her dress up as a tiger for March Madness.