Got chili on my mind

It’s not as cold as it has been lately, still the temperature here in Southeast Texas has stayed less than the mid-50s all day. I suppose what I’m saying is I thought of, in those recent colder days when we faced temps which never got out of the 30s, whipping up a bowl of red. Yes, I am talking chili.

I learned long ago, when I was a young man who fought fires for a living, that there are all sorts of difference between real chili and the canned stuff. Actually, my Momma made a good pot of chili. I suppose that she might not like me bragging and perhaps would secretly feel a bit hurt, but I made chili better than Momma’s. My first bowl, when I used a prepared seasoning mix — produced by an old Nacogdoches football star in Chireno — was the best I ever tasted at the time. Then my friend Bruce, and sometimes even Waldo, would try to out-cook me. But they never did. Well, during those six or so years we had an actual cook-off, Bruce did manage to beat me a couple of times. I eventually grew out of a packaged mix. Besides Red, who made the mixture, went to that big chili parlor in the sky sometime back then.

If you have a need for canned chili — and I understand that sometimes it is necessary — you should buy Wolf Brand. In more recent years I would often buy Austex turkey chili. It was less fattening as well as cheaper. Wolf Brand always had the “brand” thing going. Back in the 60s and 70s this Texas Ranger looking fellow would come on TV and ask: “Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili? Ha. Well that’s too long.”

So, it’s not really cold, but I’ve been making chili and as soon as I look over and publish this, I’m going to eat a bowl. And you know what? It’s got beans. It has organic-damned chili beans in it. That’s why I didn’t give Bruce too much of a hard time the other day when he told the world on Facebook that he made some chili with beans. I once was a “no beans” chili cook/consumer. I figure a man like me needs to watch his diet at my age and condition, so I have some 90 percent lean and 10 percent fat ground beef. It’s cheaper than the turkey that the store carries and it actually has less cholesterol than that same turkey. Anyway, I recently had my blood work done and cholesterol isn’t a major problem with me.

Chili is a dish that doesn’t need meat. I can just imagine sitting around sipping tea with a bunch of vegetarian chili heads. But to each their own. A bowl of red, or two, has an amazing power surrounding it. I don’t know what it is other than being delicious. Though really, is there anything wrong with something that tastes good that you can make to your spec?

That’s a big thick, steaming bowl of homemade chili. How long has it been since you had a bowl?