FLYNN: Chili nothing to stew about

Features column

Photo by Vicki Harris

Photo by Vicki Harris

Feuds have erupted over far worse things, I have no doubt, but one that raises its head around our abode this time of year is quite spicy.

If you were to listen to my better half you would think there is no finer chili in the world than that of the recipe he has concocted in his own masterful mind. The word masterful is his adjective, mind you. I would argue that particular use of the word were it not for the fact that it is that same mind that chose me as his wife – and I can’t rightly argue with that.

But it is his, dare I say obnoxious, ultimatum that no one … no one … makes chili as good as his that brings me to make this plea.

Can I make the chili at least once this year? Please?

Chili has been and will always be a staple around our household. From the time I was old enough to put a spoon in my mouth to just last weekend, chili has been my most favorite feel good meal. Used to be that it had to be at least 60 degrees outside before we’d pull out the big ol’ cook pot. But in the last couple of years, it’s become more of a year ‘round delicacy — as long as you were man or woman enough to eat it when it’s 96 degrees outside.

As much as I deign to admit it, my husband’s chili is quite good, as evidenced by my inhalation of more than my fair share over the years. I don’t know if it is his great care and attention paid to the picking and chopping of the onions, the careful rinsing of the beans, or the delicate, intermittent stirring while it simmers on the stove that make it so good. He claims it is his secret ingredient, which I won’t reveal for fear he may deliberately trap me in the car with him with the window lock on the next time he eats it.

One thing I do think would improve his chili, though, is to give it a name. I’ve heard several interesting ones lately — Blazing Saddles Chili, Dragon Fire Chili, Boiled Cigar Butts and Sheep Dip Chili, Triple XXX Chili, Brother Willy & Sister Lilly’s Traveling Salvation Army Chili, Voodoo Chili, Chicken Lips Chili, Warlock Chili, Happy Heine Chili, Brimstone Broth, Hillbilly Chili, Scorpion Breath Chili, Capital Punishment Chili, Vampire Chili, Buffalo Butt Chili, Werewolf Chili, Mephistophelean Chili, Satan’s Soup and, last but not least, Bubba’s Big Bang Recycled Chili.

I was at first confused at naming one Happy Heine Chili, thinking I never knew of someone who claimed to have one of those after eating especially spicy chili. It took a minute for me to realize it was Heine, short for the beer, and not hiney, like fanny. I never said I was that smart … or could spell.

Maybe it’s those occasional blonde moments that make my husband fear my ruining a good pot of chili. I remembered something I read years ago about a writer who said “no one should be permitted to cook chili while then and there being a female person.” Was his last name Flynn? No, it was not. But it was Smith, Allen Smith, and my husband’s mother’s maiden name happens to be Smith so there quite possibly could be a connection there. It’s too coincidental, if you ask me. How many Smiths could there be in the world?

So, perhaps I should cut my husband some slack and chalk his refusal to let me cook chili up to genetics. Perhaps I should be happy that he wants to cook and give me a break. Perhaps, this year, I should just let it be.

Perhaps. But it still gets under my craw sometimes. No one can make chili as good as his, my foot. Why, I oughta…

It’s V8 Juice. His secret ingredient.

Please, Lord, let the window lock be broken.

Email Mandy Flynn at at flyn1862@bellsouth.net.