Thursday, April 1, 2010

Operation Chili

The day was sunny and bright. The kitchen was clean. Friends were taking me to the store. Everything was in place, and there was nothing that made me suspect that my dinner plans would turn into a full fledged battle between me and... you guessed it, a pot of soup. "A pot of soup?" you say incredulously. Yes indeed. Be not mistaken. A pot of soup is a thing nearly in surmountable. It is a thing of mystery, danger, and excitement. You never know exactly what is at the bottom of it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This adventure did not start with my making a pot of chili... it started with a phone call.

"Oh hi Desiree'! Sorry I missed your call."
"You're going to be here in about half an hour... and you have directions to the store? Of course. No problem. Just call me when you're getting close and I'll come out and meet you."
"Yep! Bye."

BAM! I thought to myself. I scored big time. Instead of a 2 hour trip to the store to get 2 or 3 bags of groceries and breaking my arms (and sometimes bags) on the walk back; I now acquired for myself one de-lux ride to the store equipped with special extra space for my very own bags, plenty of leg room, and a radio channel that features a couple men that read straight through the Bible. (Unfortunately, they happened to be going through one of the lengthy Old Testament lineages.)

3o minutes later I checked my watch, shrugged my shoulders, and played "Hey Jude" on the piano. 5 minutes after that, I went outside to cut a few of the wildflowers growing by the side of our building. The blue stars add a nice touch of life to one of our bookcases. 5 minutes after that, I twiddled my thumbs.... and right when I was about to be impatient, Desiree' called again and said they were almost here. (I repeated to myself, BAM!)

I don't know what punk company they got their directions from, but I do know one thing. All the roads that don't lead to Rome lead to downtown DC. You might think that's not so bad. After all, it's April first, people are happy about the warm sun and families are picnicking gaily in the parks and everyone is ready to deck the White House with boughs of cherry blossoms. Well actually, because of the Cherry Blossom festival, every road through downtown DC was packed with cars AND pedestrians, neither of which mind they're own traffic lights. I've never hear people curse or honk so much. They should have turned to 107.5 and edified their soul by learning that Jabesh the son of Zoar the son of.....

Oh no! I've heard stories about this. The day and dinner is ruined by the meal resisting consumption. It maneuvers and strikes back at its maker. Well then. I will NOT give in! The chili shall be MINE (and Paul's) and we will consume it before the parking garages start charging $15/hr for late fees. 

My mind was made up. I knew in my heart of hearts that even before we got to the store, my dinner (mostly still on the shelves of the store) was resisting my coming. Well, we made it to the highway which turned out to be the wrong one. Oh well. A mere 15 minutes later, we were speeding our way to Alexandria... to Shoppers... to my dinner.

I was concentrating so fully on the cans of beans and tomatoes that I nearly missed getting a shopping cart. But I didn't fall for that sneaky trick. I turned around, grabbed a cart and headed for the front lines... err, aisles. Without much protest, the beans and tomatoes and other chili ingredients resigned themselves to their fate in my cart, and I managed to go through the store gathering groceries that we'd need for most of the rest of the month. (At a price cheaper than any store within walking distance. BAM!) I got so much food that it didn't matter at all how long I had to wait for my friends to be done shopping. I knew that I wouldn't have been able to buy so much in more than 5 trips walking to the store.

The way back was relatively uneventful, though I had to keep a sharp watch out for the turns and exits to get to our apartment. But I made it back and began to unpack and to start the chili. Oh no! It's happening again. The onions erased themselves from my memory. *sigh* There's not one left! What is chili without onions? Ha. This dinner thinks it has me licked... well I'm not! Chili without onions is actually what I planned all along! Bua-ha-ha-ha-ha....

I opened cans and thew things in the pot right and left feeling like a chef competing on the Food Network. I sauteed the ground beef, drained it and tossed it in. Add some chili powder, cumin, and BBQ sauce... and left it to boil for a little bit while I washed some dishes. (The dish soap had tipped over and made a mess on the counter while I was gone.) It was all coming together nicely. But this was no ordinary, calmly submissive pot of soup, no sir. It wasn't going down without a last ditch effort at wounding my chef's pride. I turned around and the pot was boiling and smelling delectable and inviting. But no... it was boiling a little too vigorously. It was a little too excited about how hot it was getting. I removed it from the stove and started stirring it, groaning inwardly as I felt a few things stuck to the bottom. And then, without warning,. a huge bubble of chili burst all over my left wrist, scalding it and making me cry aloud. I'm so glad they don't tar and feather people anymore, I thought as I held my wrist under some cold water from the faucet and turned off the stove with the other hand. The wall was splatter with chili from the Blissfield picture to the other side of the window. Dear me.

Yes sir, my dinner tried hard to escape me this time, but I had the last word. The pot of chili sat on the stove now, calmly cooling off, and I lifted a spoon into it for a taste. And I smiled a smile of satisfaction that only comes after a hard victory won.

(And for concerned readers, my burned wrist is recovering well underneath a soothing ice pack, balanced just so that I can type at the same time.... oh wait! The back just started leaking... and there's water going everywhere! Uhm....excuse me for just a moment.)