Saturday, November 14, 2009

Some like it hot

This blog post is not about the movie "Some Like It Hot," (although that title does have something to do with the story I am about to share) but if you have not seen the movie, then I am devastated.  And you are missing out on the funniest movie of all time.  Marilyn Monroe with Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis dressed in drag.  You will be in tears.  Promise.  Although be forewarned that Ms. Monroe's wardrobe is quite scandalous.

No, this post is about how last night I did something dumb.  I entered a chili cook-off here in Farmington.  I don't even like chili.  But it was for a church tailgating party and at the time I signed up the event director seemed pretty desperate, so I figured, "what the hey?", and wrote my name down.  Then I went home and googled "chili recipe" and got almost nine million hits.  Yikes.  I went with the first chili recipe that sounded interesting to me, a non chili eater.  It was for Maui Chili and called for pineapple and chicken.  It even has its own website.  (I only made 1/4 of the recipe and omitted the beer, for fairly obvious reasons.  Namely - church cook-off and the fact that I don't drink or buy beer in the first place.  I don't care if the alcohol "cooks off," because I still have my suspicions that that is a myth.  Paul suggested non-alcoholic beer.  I still said no.)   

It looked like chili.  It smelled like chili.  And when I tasted it, it tasted like chili.  Until the jalapeno peppers and cayenne pepper kicked in.  Then I couldn't taste anything.  Since I have never cooked with these two ingredients, I think I underestimated their potency and used a little bit too generous of a hand.  I panicked and tried to cool down the spicy-ness of my batch of chili with sour cream.  Then with an extra can of diced tomatoes.  Then with extra cornmeal thickening.  Nothing worked.  I don't think it tasted bad, but then, I am not a chili eater.  In fact, I kind of liked the pineapple and chicken part, but the tomatoes and beans burned baby.  It was mortifying.

At that point there was nothing I could do, so I talked my parents into taking two cars and made my mother carry the chili in, hoping that whoever was setting up the contest would assume she had made it, not me.  She had tasted it too though, and knew of its spicy-ness, so when I showed up I found out that she had made sure that I would get credit.  Turns out my chili was the first in line for judging.  I don't know how the judges could taste anything else after tasting my chili, so my guess is that the results of this particular cook-off were skewed. 

And that is how I sabotaged all the other chili contestants at a church chili cook-off.  And won first-place, not in the overall category, but for the Spiciest Chili.  That's me.  Spicy.  This is really terrible photo, but we only had our phones thinking that there would be no way we wanted to document this funny little get together.  Everybody was told to wear their school apparel, so that is why I am wearing my BYU Law sweatshirt.  Paul wore his U of U Law sweatshirt. 

After the awards were given (only 4 of them - 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Spiciest, which is ambiguous and could mean worst, but lets not go there, and, just so you know, there were probably about 15 entries too, so don't think mine was merely a pity placing so that everybody got an award), a number of people went straight for my mouth-burner and loaded up on it.  The oldest guy (Brother Stoddard) there was in his eighties and he was super cute and came over to me to make sure he got the right chili.  I watched him eat two full bowls of it.  He saved me from complete embarassment.  Turns out there is a whole group of people who only eat chili if it has major heat.  Weird. 

One other quirk to share before I end this now rather lengthy blog post.  I also made a dessert.  And I always hold an unofficial competition at these kind of potluck type events (family reunions and such) that I don't tell anyone about where I watch to see whose dessert goes first and fastest.  Paul knows that I do this and I'm pretty sure he gets a kick out of it.  What can I say?  I was born with a competitive streak a mile wide.  Like that girl on Glee.  Its kind of a big deal to me.

Anyway, I kind of hover around the dessert table just to observe, but not conspicuous enough to draw attention.  And I don't tell anyone which dessert I made because that would be unfair to the other (unwitting) contestants.  I have a whole theory about how the winning dessert has to be different enough that it is not something that people will make for themselves, but not so unusual as to cause people not to try it.  I have to admit that the running was tight between my fruit pizza and somebody else's brownie toffee trifle.  But mine pulled out strong in the end.

Behold and salivate:

Okay, maybe three photos was a little unnecessary, but I just couldn't say no.  Paul took the photos, as usual.

All-in-all, it was a pretty interesting/weird/fun night.  But I don't think I will be entering another chili cook-off any time soon.


  1. I do the same thing when I bring a dessert to something. Not that I'm competitive about it, it's just dessert making is one of the few things I really feel I'm good at, and when mine is gone first, it validates me. Your fruit pizza looks so yummy!

  2. I kind of am salivating now. Just thought you would be happy to know.

  3. I would like the recipe for the fruit pizza.

  4. Never seen Some Like It Hot (but I'll watch for it), hot chili is only good with supporting flavor (which it sounds like yours had), and I'm not a fan of fruit pizza (though your ingredients look very fresh and delicious). Do you take into account how large the desserts are? I mean, a sheet cake can't rightly compete with a 10" fruit pizza, can it? Also, the pictures of your fruit pizza are of suspicious quality compared to your winning photo; did you have a fruit pizza photo session before the event?

  5. Dee, your comments are funny and crack me up. But valid. Yes, I do take into account the size of the desserts because otherwise it would be a pretty empty victory, wouldn't it? That's part of why I have to keep my eye on how the desserts are moving so that I can see whether proportionally speaking my dessert is going faster than the others. And yes, I took photos of the fruit pizza before I went over to the church while there was still some daylight out. Fruit always looks so much better when the photos are taken in natural lighting. Plus we used our Canon instead of our phone cams.

  6. I love this post. I think I said that before. But I don't think I said before that I love Some Like it Hot. I think a big part of the humor for me is seeing people from an era I consider more dignified being so irreverent.


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