I’m spending today cooking chili. I’m not exactly sure how I got to the point where I spend one of my precious days off from work cooking chili, but we’ll see through the course of this post if I can trace it.
A few weeks ago, Gin and I made a batch of chili. This may sound unusual to some of you, and it is kind of unusual, since neither of us are known to cook. We used my grandma Naoma’s old chili recipe, which I had always wanted to try to make. A mitigating circumstance to our actual cooking of chili from scratch is that we had a nice new pot to cook it in and all the ingredients (my super-generous mom gave them to us at a recipe shower before our marriage. It should be noted that my mom herself has never prepared this dish, so the immensity of cooking chili from scratch spans the generations, at least for my part.) The chili turned out pretty good, and the recipe made a HUGE batch. Our shiny new pot could barely contain it all. This single evening of chili-making provided us with meal after satisfying meal, as I divided the substance into numerous containers which we froze and then reheated in the days/weeks following. It was an actual cooking success on our part. Maybe it wasn’t an unqualified success since no one else ever actually tasted it, but we thought it was good and since we were the ones eating it I guess that is what’s important.
Naturally, as our frozen chili portions disappeared, the thought occurred to us that we should try again. I also had this thought that it might be interesting to use chicken instead of ground beef, and black beans instead of red beans. And then, some sort of weird process went into mechanization. One morning earlier this week I found myself wandering around a grocery store looking for things to cook at home, since I was going to be at home alone a lot instead of in Salt Lake City at work (I’ve had all of this past week off from work). I went by the meat section. I saw ground beef and I saw chicken, and I thought of the chili. I bought a big package of raw chicken, and then a bag of black beans. And as a result of these rash decisions, I am currently spending my Friday morning (and afternoon, apparently) preparing a giant batch of highly experimental chicken and black bean chili. I had to do it because the meat was going to go bad if I didn’t do it today.
And now I’m in a bizarre situation where, although I am cooking food and have been cooking food for several hours, it is now past lunch time and I can’t yet eat this food. Am I forced to prepare something else, while I am still cooking the chili? Do I leave the chili simmering and actually go out somewhere and buy some fast food? Preposterous! The other thing that gets me about this whole business is that it might not even taste good when it gets done. It’s still a mystery. But it’s my mystery, and my day off. And I am in the kitchen, cooking chili. And typing about cooking chili. Now that does seem more like something I would do on my day off.
p.s. I’m even wearing an apron. This is a first for me, and I always thought aprons were stupid, but the last two times I’ve tried cooking stuff I had splatters all over my clothes. I’ve learned my lesson. It is just a regular apron, though, not a flirty apron.