I recently was invited to my first ever chili cookoff!
(most likely I haven’t been included in one before because everyone else knows I can’t cook and my Chicago friends have yet to find that out. Well. Had yet to find out).
Upon being invited, I expressed concerns about the whole “cooking” thing via Twitter and a friend emailed over a recipe. “It’s great,” he said. “It will totally win,” he said. So I went into the idea of this cookoff contest with total and utter confidence.
And then the night before I found myself wandering around the aisles of Jewel with my tattered shopping list, on day three of a migraine, squinting my eyes under the fluorescent lights just wanting to escape and start the stupid cooking process already.
So, honestly, can you blame me for buying actual cloves instead of “garlic cloves?” Or grabbing Chile Chipotle Pepper instead of “Chili Powder?” I mean, we’re lucky I remembered the lean ground turkey, for crying out loud.
When I got home, one of my roommates (hi mom!) expressed her frustration over the errors of my ways. But with my head feeling as though it were in a vice, I refused to head back to Jewel, made the executive decision to forgo cloves of any kind, and decided Chile Chipotle Pepper was a fine substitute for Chili Powder, thank you very much.
So we got to work (well, I got to work. My mother swooped in to try to salvage the process all while yelling that chili powder was probably something like baking powder, so without it the chili would not be able to cook normal, and how could I miss the word “garlic” in front of the word “cloves?”).
(by the way, mom, according to Mr. Google chili powder is just a spice. So there).
Pretty soon I was crying.
No, not because of my mother – I was soaked in tears from chopping the onions. No shit you guys, I always thought that was an old wives tale! Once the rest of the process was done, and the crock pot was full of wonder and goodness, I went to bed with visions of winning first place.
The next morning was like waking up on Christmas! I excitedly ran downstairs, anxious to see how it turned out. We all tasted it. And I know y’all are going to be shocked to hear this, but it was actually quite good! I loaded the chili into my car and made my way to the city of Chicago, where seven other crock pots awaited me in the competition. Game on.
Many bowls, toppings, and a full ranking system later, and it was time to tally the ballots. The chili was ranked on taste, texture, and appearance.
And I totally won first place!
I hope you didn’t actually believe that last sentence, you guys. Because the truth?
My chili came in dead last place.
And this is why you shouldn’t try making chili for the first time ever when you have a migraine.
At least, that’s my excuse for losing.
The good news? I actually really like my chili, so leftovers this week are going to be amazing. And I can only improve from here. 2013 is so going to be my year.