Matters of Culinary Import

if you’re like me, occasionally you want to sit down and have a bowl of chili – not a lot, just a bowl full of beef, grease, spices, and goodness.
maybe some crackers.
seems the logical place to go for such an occasional treat is to the canned meat aisle of your local grocery.
not in this lifetime, buckaroos.
i can now say i’ve tried all of them, and for the most part, they suck. i don’t mean they don’t taste like my Holy Ideal of Chili… they fuckin’ suck. if i eat somethin’ that looks like diarrhea, and tastes almost as bad, that’s not a matter of not meeting my standards.
that’s industrial-grade sewer-scrapin’ suckage.

i decided recently to purchase the last kind available i hadn’t tried,  Amy’s Organic.
doesn’t suck.
isn’t chili.
first of all, beans, it has ’em. now, even the International Chili Society has decided there’s a place for beans in chili, and i’ve decided the ICS has lost its goddamn mind. there are days i argue against tomatoes in chili. days when i believe chili should be meat and spices, so it was, is now, and evermore shall be, Amen.
most days i’m not quite so rigid.
and i have nothing against beans – you put a bowl o’ black beans next to my bowl o’ chili and i damn well may put some in, stir it around, be happy as can be.
but beans should be at the consumer’s discretion, not the cook’s. they’re just fine as one of any number of things that can be mixed into a bowl of red once it’s reached the table in a pure unadulterated state.
i view this as taking a stand for the purity of chili and the rights of chili fans everywhere.
secondly, Amy’s Organic was fuck near tasteless. chili requires chiles, and chiles don’t leave things bland. there shouldn’t be ‘bland’ and ‘spicy’ chili, there should be chili and ‘spicier’ chili. the difference being one leaves you with flavor (not all spicy is hot) and a little heat, one leaves you with flavor and more heat. hell, add a ‘spiciest’ and throw in ghost peppers. i won’t touch it, but you go on an’ eat if’n you’re of a mind to.
third, it sure as shit wasn’t good enough to justify the price Amy’s wants to charge. for an example, let’s look at Amazon, where Amy’s is available.
a pack of 12 14.7 oz cans – $47.41.
that’s $3.95 for a little ol’ can o’… well, i won’t call it chili… meat & bean soup. bland meat and bean soup.

so, i can state that in my humble opinion, there ain’t no such thing as good canned chili.
this means that i, or my friend Lee, will have to cook up a big ol’ batch, and put some of it in freezer bags or somesuch, so i can have a goddamn bowl o’ chili when i’m in the mood to.
maybe with crackers.


listening to: “Mexican Blackbird”, ZZ Top
mood: consternated

One thought on “Matters of Culinary Import

  1. I have been to Chili Mecca, and unfortunately it closed many years ago. The fact that it was in Seattle would have been a factor as well. It was a shack, basically, inside the Market Building south of Pike Place, and he had hot Chili and Chili and mixed up to your preferred spice. It was ground beef and shredded beef and pork. And it was served over pintos or kidneys or black beans or little pasta shells or rice or tortilla chips or, of course, Fritos. Served with a little block of cornbread he cut out of a loaf made on a baking pan.

    The first time I was waiting for fresh cornbread, not really given a choice. I poked around and noticed the little homemade display case on the counter. It had trophies and ribbons in it. Not from Seattle, from Terlingua. And some were firsts. So asked and he told me this was his retirement. Hours when he wanted. Price what he wanted, and it was high cause the quality was high. And he would close down when it wasn’t fun anymore, which apparently was in 2008 after I moved away.

    World Class Chili. I almost didn’t go in with a stupid name like that. That would have been a shame.

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