I had an e-mail exchange today with Karey. We love Maxine, and I had a new one to share. I also invited her to read my blog, and mentioned that I was contemplating enclosing my carport. I mused that I might have to stand outside Wal Mart with a tin can, or perhaps I could set up a concession stand and sell personal-sized servings of my chili. Do you know what she said? I quote: "People would pay you NOT to sell your chili!!!" (yes, that was THREE exclamation points!) Ahhh.. she cuts me like a knife. She made that statement based on the following story that I told her many years ago.
When Whitney was in the youth group at church, we parents took turns on Sunday evenings making dinner for them. In mid-December, when it was my turn, I decided that I would make my scrumptious chili. My mom, knowing that I was working under some heavy deadlines, offered to make it for me. No thanks, mom, I really like my chili better than yours. So- I'm off to the grocery store to buy 10 lb of ground beef, 3 lbs of onions, 6 cans of chili beans and enough chili powder and red pepper to incinerate a city block. I brown and drain the meat, seasoning to perfection, and tearfully chop the onions. I'm using one of those huge blue-speckled pots to cook the massive amount of deliciousness. I'm smacking my lips the entire time, so proud of myself for providing such a nutritious and tasty dinner for the youngsters. By the time it has cooked enough to get the onions tender, it is nearly 2:00 a.m. I had not thought this through very carefully, though. My dilemma is this: It's too hot to put in the fridge just yet, but neither do I want to turn the heat completely off. It seemed perfectly reasonable to me to take the "crock pot" approach and just turn the heat way down to barely a simmer. Off to bed I go. Up early for church the next morning, and my house smells better than The Varsity. I was gone to church for around 2 1/2 hours, but something went terribly wrong while I was gone. When I returned and opened the door, my house smelled like a 6-month-old kitty-litter box that had been sitting out in the rain. PEEYUUUU. I lifted the lid, and my beautiful chili had this strange frothy-like substance on the top. Trying to be optimistic, I stirred the concoction, and lifted a taste from within the pot. Eeeewww! G-A-G! I was so incredibly nasty that I had to spit it out. I look at the clock and it is nearly 1:00 p.m. I'm in panic mode. I have only a few hours to come up with something to feed the kids. The smell in my house is just awful, and I must get this disaster out of my kitchen. I don my hazmat suit, put on some heavy duty oven mits and transport the offending creation outside to my backyard. My rationale is that the neighborhood dogs will be delighted to find such a tasty (for dogs) treat, and they will take care of the disposal process for me.
Wrong. After feeding the kids frozen corn dogs for dinner, I went about my activities the following week. Near the end of the week I went outside to retrieve my empty pot. I was astonished to see that the stuff was still there. Not only was it still there, it had rained during the week, and there were dead bugs floating in the rainwater. I checked to make sure the fence gate was open so the dogs/cyotes/skunks/buzzards could get in. They were open. Hmmmm. I decided to leave it out there a while longer.
Later on, oh… let's say about April… I was sitting at my desk working one day and Whitney came running into my office gagging and screaming "Get it off!! Get it off!!" I expected to see leeches or spiders or something on her. No. She had been outside pitching a ball in the air and catching it and had somehow bumped up against my chili pot. The decomposed toxic-waste had splattered onto her shirt. I swear, the shirt was disintegrating before my eyes. Holes were literally appearing at the splatter sites. And the smell… well, it was pretty bad. We managed to remove the shirt before there was any damage to her delicate skin. I finally realized it was time to do something about the pot in my yard. I again donned my hazmat suit, put on my heavy duty work gloves, clipped a clothespin on my nose and went about the task of disposal. I got my wheelbarrow (I couldn't risk splashing any of it on my own personal self), and with great caution, loaded the pot on board and carefully navigated my way to the ravine behind my house. At last the evidence was out of site! Except for the dead trees and plants in my yard there was no sign that anything had ever been amiss. Funny thing. A year or so later, my mom and dad were helping me dispose of some plants when I moved from that house. We took a load out to the ravine and my mom says to my dad, "Oh look, honey! A nice stock pot! Climb down there and get it and I'll clean it up for Cat!". Um. No thanks, mom. Believe me, Cat doesn't want that pot.
For some reason, nobody seems interested in eating my cooking any more. My dear friend Karey is probably right. I could probably finance my entire project by having people pay me not to cook. Especially chili.