Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Are You Ready for Some Chiiiili???

This story caught my eye last week-

The Associated Press - 2/15/2007. Who says food fads can't last? Thousands of years before the advent of Tex-Mex, ancient Americans were spicing up stew with red hot chili peppers. New fossil evidence shows prehistoric people from southern Peru up to the Bahamas were cultivating varieties of chilies millennia before Columbus' arrival brought the spice to world cuisine. The earliest traces so far are from southwestern Ecuador, where families fired up meals with homegrown peppers about 6,100 years ago.

I love hot peppers and I love chili, so I went and dug this story out of the Archives-


Includes notes from an inexperienced chili tester named FRANK, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast. Frank notes: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the beer wagon, when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting - So I accepted."

Here are the scorecards from the event:


JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.

JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

FRANK: Holy shit, what the hell is this stuff? You could use it to remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.


JUDGE ONE: Smokey, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.

JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

FRANK: Keep this out of the reach of children. I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.


JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.

JUDGE TWO: A bean less chili, a bit salty, good use of peppers.

FRANK: Call the EPA, I've located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now- get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back; now my back bone is in the front part of my chest. I'm getting shit-faced from all the beer.


JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

FRANK: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds?


JUDGE ONE: Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very Impressive

JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

FRANK: My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage; a barmaid saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips off? It really pisses me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw those rednecks!


JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.

JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb!

FRANK: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. Can't feel my lips anymore.


JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should take note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, he appears to be in a bit of distress and he is cursing uncontrollably.

FRANK: You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn't feel a damn thing. I've lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. At least during the autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful. Screw it, I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I'll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach


JUDGE ONE: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare it's existence.

JUDGE TWO: This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he's going to make it. Poor Yank, wonder how he'd have reacted to a really hot chili?

FRANK: (Not available for comment.)


catalyst said...

Judge Number 2 had it right: Poor Yank.

Colonel Colonel said...

Catalyst- it's true. You just can't get a decent bowl of chili up here unless you make it yourself.

Mike said...

I have been entering a chili cook off for years in my hometown back in Michigan. One year we took second place but I think that is because my cooking partner might have intimidated a couple of the judges.

Typically the people that win have the least offensive and most tasteless chili. Very little flavor other than tomato and some of them have actually had mushrooms in their chili. Mushrooms in chili??? WTF??

I like flavorful chili with a little kick to it. Texas chili is too hot and Northern chili is too bland. Wonder what the chili tastes like in the middle of the country. Might be good.

Colonel Colonel said...

Mike- mushrooms? Mushrooms????

you know, THOSE are the people we should be keeping in Guantanamo, as a threat to the American Way of Life...

I do like Texas chili. I like to feel my cheeks burn. It's a sickness.

Cissy Strutt said...

I like it when my eyelids start sweating.

Colonel Colonel said...

Cissy- chili isn't really hot until your eyebrows spontaneously combust.

Joey Polanski said...

When I visitd Cincinnati a while back, I was told that th city was famous for its chili. & there seemd t be lotsa chili joints in town.

I dont really remembr th chili too much, but evry one o them joints had 5-alarm waitresses.

Colonel Colonel said...

Joey- yes, the waitresses are always an important part of the Chili Experience. Cincinnati, eh?

Bahama Tony said...

Prehistoric peppers? Who knew! Thanks for a fun post - you learn something new every day.