Chili Cook-Off

Вот так проводят время в Мексике канадские пенсионеры!:) Приписка от Виктории:)

The Merida English Library sent out a notice that they were looking for volunteers for their annual chili cook-off fund raising event. I quickly volunteered thinking, ‘I can do that. I make chili all the time. No big deal.” Was I ever wrong! Making chili in Canada and making chili in Mexico are two very different things.

When I read the fine print I quickly realized the first issue was the quantity. I had to make two gallons of chili and the kitchen in our rental has a pot for, maybe, one gallon. So the first item on the list of what was required to make the chili was a very large pot.

Next issue was the recipe. I have a recipe at home that I have used for years. I could probably have made the chili without a recipe if it was to be a normal amount of chili but the large volume required a recipe that would allow me to get the spices right. I went online where I didn’t find one recipe that would work but I found two that I combined to create a workable version.

Now that I had a recipe I made an ingredient list. Every ingredient on the list was an issue. And some ingredients were simply not available in Merida, i.e. large kidney beans, pork and beans, tomato sauce and nutmeg. Those ingredients I substituted or simply left out.

As much as possible I try to shop from the local grocery stores and markets. Walmart is a last resort for two reasons, it does not support the local economy and as we don’t have a car here it is a long, hot walk. Easily 45 minutes. (I could take a taxi but I prefer to walk).

Obtaining the ground beef was an adventure. We live twenty minutes away from the huge central market called, Lucas de Galvez. It is a labyrinth that covers many blocks. Beef is not a staple of the Merida diet. It took us an hour to find the small area that sold beef. The vendor stood in front of a huge piece of beef with no visible grains of fat. I indicated that I needed ground beef so he cut off slabs of this grade A sirloin and put it in the grinder. That produced the lowest fat ground beef I have ever seen.

The chili cook-off was on Sunday therefore we made the chili on the Saturday as chili is one of those dishes that is best when aged for a day or two.

On Sunday we heated-up the chili in two pots to prevent it from burning. While we were heating it we nabbed a taxi and asked him to return at 11:15 am. Just before we left we put the hot chili pot into a basket we found in the spare bedroom. The taxi ride
was uneventful other than we arrived at the chili cook-off location which was being held on the lawns of the home of the American Consular’ home 45 minutes too early. That turned out to be okay as we pitched in to help with the set-up.

The weather was perfect. For a change the weather wasn’t super hot. There were 20 cooks under the red Coca Cola tent dishing out their chili to the over 200 guests.

The youngest cook was 9  – it pays to be cute as she won first prize. One of the cooks was a teaching chef at one of the cooking schools. I wonder how he felt to lose-out to a little girl.

All in all we were all winners. Every one found a chili or two that they liked and the chefs all walked away with a souvenir apron. So fun was had by all.

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4 комментария на «Chili Cook-Off»

  1. Regina говорит:

    Hi Sheila
    To tell the truth.. I do not like chili. But I am sure it is because I have not tried the right one yet. :)What is funny about me not liking is that I like all its’ ingredients separately.

    But your description of cooking chili and how many people cooked (that means there were at least 20 slightly different chili recipes !!!) inspired me to give it another chance. 🙂
    I suppose mostly the success of chili lies, mostly, in spices. I should follow the recipe (whatever I chose) more precisely. 🙂 Maybe, you know some secrets of cooking chili and would wish to share them with me an actual novice in cooking chili?

  2. Sheila говорит:

    Hi Regina — There are so many different versions of chili that I feel certain that you could find a recipe you like. There are chili’s with beans, no beans, meat (mainly ground beef , but some with beef chunks) and vegetarian chili (a squash replacing the meat). So to say you do not like chili may not be correct — you may just not have found ‘your’ chili.

  3. Darlene говорит:

    Wow! This looks like so much fun. So pleased to see That the little girl won. I won a cooking contest once for a chocolate cake when I was about 12. I was so proud.
    I am a vegetarian so I would have made a vege chilli. I always put some chocolate in my chilli which is popular in Mexico. A great post Sheila. You and Don look very happy!

  4. Sheila говорит:

    The chili cook-off was one of those perfect days. The weather was not too hot, the people were all in a festive mood and, to round it all off, there was wonderful chili to taste. I didn’t get to taste many of the chilies, but the ones that I tasted were all different and all good.
    The 9 year old winning topped off the day just right.

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