Couch potato foolproof chili recipe (cont'd)

Yield: 1 servings

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The joy of chili is that no one really seems to know exactly what the stuff is. I've had chili creations made with tofu, with cheese, with zucchini and with tuna (which made me want to hurl). There's a fair amount of scholarly argument concerning the nature of chili, some of which is worth dredging up, just for the record. In their very funny book called Cooking: A Dictionary, Henry Beard and Roy McKie define "chili" as, "An exceedingly hot-tasting plant of the genus Capsicum, usually added in powdered form to a dish made of shredded cattle." They further define "chili con carne" as, "Incendiary dogfood widely eaten in Texas." And a "chili parlor" is said to be, "A fistfight at which cooked beef is served."Most likely, chili was invented in Texas, where it's risen to the highstate of, as Will Rogers once said, "A bowl of blessedness." In Texas,the myths concerning the birth of chili are legion. Some claim it first emerged in San Antonio in the years before the Civil War. Others suggest it was created by Texans heading off for the gold fields of California, as a reminder of the fine, and spicy, tastes of home. Another theory contends that chili was invented in the prisons of Texas, as a way of making cheap meat taste edible. My favorite legend concerning chili is that it was first described by a mystical nun named Sister Mary of Agreda in the year 1618, after she emerged from one of her occasional trances.

Whatever the origin, the point of chili is that it can be made out of just about anything. Like religion and politics, nobody agrees about the one true chili. Some argue for chunks of beef, while others insistthe beef must be ground. Some say beans, especially red kidney beans (as in Cincinnati-style chili) are perfectly appropriate; others rail that

beans are simply cheap filler. Some says chili must be Simon pure, while others argue for the presence of lamb, mutton, cinnamon, chicken, duck ++ God knows what else. What I do know is that it goes great with beer. Lots of beer, especially if you get a sudden spasm adding the chili peppers. If that night the sheets do not touch the bed, your chili has been a wondrous success. Copyright 1995, Merrill Shindler

Submitted By SAM LEFKOWITZ On 08-02-95

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