Monday, November 15, 2010

We Are the Champions!

If you've been reading this blog for a couple of years, you may recall that one time, I tied for second place in a chili cook-off.

This event is always a blast, a wonderful good time featuring music and food and drink to benefit the Mother Ann Wright Foundation - a grass roots organization that feeds hundreds of people in need, every single day of the year.

Winning anything at all should have been thrilling, right? But honestly, I take my cooking seriously - a little TOO seriously, some might say, because instead of being excited that I won second place, I was sore that I didn't win first place. I mean, come on! It's a benefit, for crying out loud! A benefit to feed the homeless! What the hell was wrong with me?! Believe me, I asked myself that a lot around that time.

Fast forward to this year. I was excited to make chili just for the fun of making chili. I'd recently been on an insane quest to figure out the perfect method for cooking dried beans, and I think I've finally found it! That's going to require a separate post entirely!

In my quest to find the perfect way to cook beans, I stumbled upon this chili recipe, which looked amazing. But I wanted my chili to be veggie this year, so I decided to adapt it.

More importantly, I decided to make the chili just for the sheer enjoyment of it. I remembered my insane disappointment from not winning previously and knew that I couldn't let myself go to that place, and so I didn't. I just made the chili and served it up with no attachment to winning or even caring about winning.

But, guess what?

I WON!!!

Sure was thrilling to snag that trophy!

And I have to send out serious kudos to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt over at Serious Eats, for the original recipe was his... and he freely encourages folk to use it as a starting point and adapt as they see fit, and so I did. I'll post my recipe soon, but first I have to do a separate post about cooking dried beans, so stay tuned, friends!

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