Saturday, September 12, 2009

On the front burner -- Dem/Repub chili

Making a batch of Dem/Repub chili this afternoon. Great weather for it -- 52 degrees and cloudy. Football weather.

My chili "starter" was a batch of spaghetti sauce whipped up by my Republican friend Stephen from Lebanon, Tenn. He and his family stayed with us during Cheyenne Frontier Days. Stephen and his wife Kate are Republicans and probably what you'd call fundamentalist Christians. Stephen preaches at cowboy churches and also is a rodeo judge. Almost looks as good in a cowboy hat as I do. Except I don't like horses or rodeos. I play a cowboy on stage every summer at the old-fashioned melodrama. When the final curtain drops, I put away my cowboy duds until next summer.

Ain't that just like a liberal? Merely an actor on the stage of life? Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Stephen, on the other hand, rides horses and even has some on his rural Tennessee property. He has real horseshit on his boots. He's also a trained chef who can whip up French delicacies one day, a batch of spaghetti sauce the next.

Speaking of spaghetti sauce... Stephen made some sauce for all of us this summer. A few pounds of burger, some canned tomatoes (and a few fresh ones) and spices. He whipped it all together -- along with a salad and garlic bread -- without breaking a sweat. It was fantastic sauce and so much left over that we froze a batch for later. And later is today.

To the defrosted sauce, I added some roasted Hatch chilies from New Mexico, bought this morning at the Cheyenne Farmers' Market. Most people know Hatch for its chilies and the Hatch Cut-Off, a route that links I-25 and I-10 and saves a half hour off the trip from Albuquerque to Tucson. I believe that this part of Hispanic N.M. went heavily Democratic in the 2008 elections.

I added some of my own tomatoes, also heavily Democratic like me. Plus some chili powder and cumin, both McCormick brands packed in Maryland, one of the bluest of the blue states despite being south of the Mason-Dixon Line. I also added some Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning blend, packed in Illinois, another blue state (especially around Chicago). Now, the spices come from all over. Harvested by hand by Indonesians and Brazilians making a few bucks a day (if that). I suppose this could be seen as a brand of economic imperialism that goes back to Marco Polo. Are there free-trade spice co-ops? Something I need to look up.

I whipped it all together, simmered for an hour, and filled a big bowl with the results. On the side, I had tortilla chips, sour cream and grated cheese. I ate, and watched portions of the Oklahoma State vs. Houston and UCLA vs. Tennessee football games. Those blue-state devils from Southern California trying to impose their ways upon the godly Vols of the Tennessee hills, Vols as in Volunteers, eager to fight in all U.S. wars going back to the Revolution. You'd think the Vols would have the advantage, but they lost to the Los Angelenos.

Hey, Stephen -- the chili was delicious. I'll freeze some and we can sup together next time you drop into my blue house in the reddest of red states. You're always welcome, pard.

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