Any modest writer will not title their essay or book, "The Complete Philosophy of Education", or "The Philosophy of Cuisine". They will entitle their thoughts, "Towards a Philosophy of..."
I'm still learning. I'm still becoming. I'm still working towards full expertise. All I know for sure, is what I know today. What I know today could change come next week, when God or the cooking channel teaches me something greater.
Thus, I caution my younger readers of twenty-something years of age. Listen to those who are twice your age. Everything that you think you know today, I knew twenty years ago, and I've been steadily adding to those stores of wisdom since. I may not know pop trivia, but I know how to feed a large family on a very modest budget, how to survive twins...plus two more, how to get (and keep) a Godly man, how to lead with limited strength and ability, and how to walk with God.
But that is another blog entry for another day. (And aren't you just on the edge of your chair about it???)
Regardless of your age, I welcome your input on this subject as well, indulgent reader, as I work towards a philosophy of chili.
Chili should not be consumed in spring or summer. We have an Atchley Tradition (yes, with Capital Letters) and that is, we stop eating chili in spring, and we don't touch a bite of the delightful stuff until the first evening of the following autumn, when the temperature is forecasted to dip to forty-something. It can be, gentle reader, forty-nine. Yes, we'll break out the chili powder and the jalapeno for a low of forty-nine degrees.
Tonight, October 1st 2008, the forecasted low dips down to the magic number for the first time since last April. It is predicted to be forty-SEVEN degrees tonight. Wahoojah-amen, fire up the really big stock pot, and let the chili makin's begin. Time to celebrate.
Fire for the palate.
If it doesn't kick your butt, it ain't chili. If it doesn't give you a quasi-charismatic moment, it ain't chili. (hop around, fan yourself, speak in strange tongues...) If it doesn't leave you feeling somewhat alarmed at first bite, it ain't chili. You are supposed to shovel in that first, delectable spoonful, buck about in your chair for a split-second, and exclaim:
"THAT'S what I'm talkin' about. EEEEEEEE-yeah."
Have a hand towel at the ready, because if you aren't wiping your forehead along with the corners of your mouth...it ain't chili. Have lots of sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and Frito's on the table, because if you don't have those...well, you get what I'm trying to say.
It ain't chili.
I think chili making is Mercy Ministry at its finest. All the capsaicin (the ingredient that makes your nose run, and makes you speak with strange tongues) in chili actually releases endorphins! Who needs a "runner's high"? Gimme a bowl of the good stuff. Who needs to be slain in the spirit? I'll share my chili with you, and have you feeling high as a kite in no time flat. You'll be swimming in endorphins, praisin' the Lord.
All that said, I really do feel humble about it. I've not arrived, when it comes to making God's Favorite Dish. If you'd like to work towards your own chili philosophy, feel free to enlighten me.