Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fojammi's Chili

It seems like the recipe for chili should be pretty straightforward. I know a lot of people who are famous for their chili and, believe me, their recipes are as individual as they are.

I grew up with a family tradition of Christmas Eve chili. I tried to bring the tradition to my new family when I had kids I loved my mom’s chili but she cooked celery into it and my wife just couldn’t accept the idea. We lost one of my favorite traditions. I think the most important thing I learned about marriage was “Marriage is compromise”. I was caught in the grips of holy wedlock!

When I tended bar at the Oyster Bar in the 80s my boss Dennis and our chef Michael Thomas always won first and second place at the Soulard Chili cook-off.

I never got to try them because, by then, I was vegetarian.

When I was a skydiving instructor in southern Illinois our boss Dave Verner always threw a Christmas chili party for the staff and jumpers. It was a way to keep people jumping in December. He had a huge pot that simmered for days. It was an accepted fact that road kill was part of his recipe. I brought doctored cans of veggie chili.

Dan Schaeffer, older brother to Dominic and Benet, cooked a recipe that was so hot he called it Chili Hindenburg!

When I was in my early twenties I lived with my buddy Fojammi and our two beautiful girlfriends. Life was good! Danny always knew how to create atmosphere. He lit the apartment with colored stage lights and made his Arp Odyssey synthesizer auto generate ambient music.

About once a year he made chili. His recipe called for fish and took three days to cook. He left out the fish and got it down to one day. It was white and let me tell you, it was white hot. Not to be outdone by Dan, we called it Chili Nagasaki.

His chili was like doing drugs. We locked the doors, took the phone off the hook, ate a bite and went into a furious, mindless trance. We stared at each other speechless as sweat poured from our foreheads.

Danny is a referee for the St. Louis Arch Rival roller derby team these days. I stole this pic from his team bio. Check it out.


Sharon said...

Didn't you and Joanie make up a pretty tasty chili with zucchini in it?

Doggie said...

God, who knows? Cooking is an ongoing experiment. I've never gotten it down and I subject everyone to it.