Chilly Chili Cook-Off 2006

There are many ways to make chili, some add heat, others sweetness. There are those who believe that a good chili takes time to simmer and stew searing in the flavor and juices. My favorite chili is served with good a sharp wit and rich history. There is nothing more American than the melting pot of variety and hearty goodness of homemade chili.

This weekend I had the pleasure to attend the Second Annual Chilly Chili Cook Off. I was quick to RSVP for this fun event as I had such a great time last year. Really, how can you expect anything other than a great time when good people come together to eat?

The smart and spicy Jordan was my co-judge for this year’s panel. While I could not claim to be fair, I have no problem being judgmental. It was not what I imagined judging a chili cook-off would be (bribes and persuasion.) Hanging out with Jordan for the evening was great entertainment. Mostly she was polite enough to laugh at my bad jokes and not mention the large glop of chili that had dropped on my shirt and remained there for the entire evening only to be discovered when I returned home.

There were a few less recipes entered into the competition this year. I think many people were intimidated by some of the oddities that won last year. Maybe they saw the rest of us having fun while they were stuck behind croc pots dishing out the goods. Whatever the reason, I was happy that the selection was smaller as my tummy would not have been happy with more.

It was tough to decide which chili was better and which was the best. First time chili maker Sarah had a great batch while last years winner may have tried a little too hard and over shot the pallet of the audience. My personal favorite was the second place chili this year. First and second place was once again decided by a dance-off, this time to Prince.

What you cannot see from this video, due to real life dance floor competition regulation lighting, is the precision and agility of these chili chiefs. The series of back flips and head spins are just amazing from the second place winner. Her professional training really paid off. The audience chose this years winner not only for the chili, but also for the one move you can almost see at the beginning where he jumps in the air, rips his shirt completely off, covers his chest in his own chili, and proceeds to summersault on to the judges table. From there his back flip on to the one finger upside down stand was just extraordinary. It was a sheer joy for everyone there to witness such a bold feat.

The chili was great. More important this group of people remains open to new faces and very friendly. It was their welcoming spirit that really made the night such a pleasure. Heck, if I just wanted to stand around some ones basement and eat chili I’d go to the YMCA soup kitchen. If you are ever allowed that rare invitation to this prestigious annual gala, I recommend you accept.

Thank you Kendra for the invitation, Trevor and his wife for great conversation, and especially to Jordan for letting us all make your house smell like chili for another year. I look forward to 2007 when the smell will finally start to dissipate from daily dousing of Fabreeze.

Link to Last Year
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