Sunday, August 10, 2008

hillbilly chili

So we have our annual Chili Cook-off last Sunday. And just like every year, little paper donkeys hung on the walls of the church office. Honey-combed sombreros and chili peppers dotted the tables. A giant blow-up jalapeno bounced and jiggled in its pinned-up spot near the door.

One by one, potholder-clad women carried in casserole dishes of cornbread--some plain, some cheesy, some flecked with peppers or corn or a little of both. One by one, confident-looking men strode in with their crock pots of chili. You could see by their faces that each of those men had already cleared a spot back home for the Chili King plaque; each could already feel that Chili King crown on their big heads.

Like I do every year, I had to smile at all that confidence.

Waiting hands took each entry, numbered them, and shooed the contestants outside. While the men stood around in clusters not telling each other their recipes, the women wandered from group to group encouraging each other. "Ooh, you put green chilis in your cornbread--I love that!" "White cornmeal ... that's a good idea." "Yours looks so cheesy! I'm definitely trying yours."

Only God could have made men and women so different.

Though most of the men were mum about their entries, one man (who shall remain unnamed) began campaigning pretty much the moment he handed his entry over and heard his number. "Try number 10," he urged. "You gotta try number 10."

A lot of people tried number 10. All the judges did, of course. And then, after Sue Kunkle was crowned Cornbread Queen and Scott Mayor was crowned Chili King, and Dave handed over the plaque from last year and we all lined up for chili, a whole lot of people dished themselves up a big scoop of number 10.

We ate. And then, when it was far too late to do anything about it, the maker of number 10 spilled the beans. It seems the meat in his chili was meat he had trapped, killed and skinned himself. At his house. Where the varmint had just, the day before, killed one of his ducks. Number 10 chili was full of ... raccoon.

Oh, the gagging that ensued. The retching. The groaning. Laughter came later, but people in shock don't usually think to laugh. It took quite awhile for the color to return to that crowd.

The jokes have begun, of course. Suzzanne Schalo, one of the judges, took it the hardest. Her husband, Joel, and I have had a good time teasing her about the ordeal. "Did it taste like chicken?" I asked. Joel told me she's been picking whiskers out of her teeth all week, and that she might be coming down with a cough ... unless it's just a fur-ball. I told her I didn't want to see her nosing around the garbage cans or chasing ducks.

Pretty much the second we got home from the Cook-Off, Dave began writing up the rules for next year. Rule number one: ingredient disclosure.

Only in Marysville, Washington--home of Hillbilly Chili, and Calvary Chapel Boone-ville ... or should that be Coon-ville?


11 Comment:

At 8/10/2008 8:22 AM, Blogger boutcrazy had this to say ...

Oh, that is so funny. Sounds like something that would happen where I live in HICKman County, TN, were we honestly have a lot of hicks. You are never sure what you will find on the tables around here.

At 8/10/2008 9:05 AM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Hickman County ... that's funny. :)

Glad to hear we're not the only yokels, Deborah. :)

At 8/10/2008 4:17 PM, Blogger Shea had this to say ...

that chili looks good

At 8/10/2008 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous had this to say ...

That was way TOO FUNNY! I actually snorted my water I laughed so hard.

At 8/10/2008 5:41 PM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Hi Shea--thanks for the visit :)

Sorry to make you snort, Magalie! We've been laughing quite a bit over it here, too, but it took awhile to get to that point. I was so nauseated by the thought at first that it didn't seem at all funny.

You and the boys have been in my prayers. Hope you're all doing well. Love you!

At 8/10/2008 8:25 PM, Blogger Nancy had this to say ...

To be honest, I am truly disturbed by this and I am very glad that I wasn't there to have been subjected to the mystery ingredient. I guess I am just too used to buying my meat on a styrofoam tray wrapped in plastic wrap...

At 8/10/2008 9:04 PM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Nancy, I'm with you. Disturbing. The good news is that Dave is disturbed too. So this won't happen again.

Next year, ALL the meat has to come in styrofoam trays ... :)

At 8/11/2008 1:46 PM, Blogger Curlyqfun had this to say ...

Ohhh my gosh!!! That is crazy. Boy this year was one for the record books.

At 8/12/2008 1:11 PM, Blogger Vick had this to say ...

I'm glad I donated my pot roast to the Chili King and not the two headed squirrel we trapped in our garage :o}

At 8/12/2008 6:21 PM, Blogger suzzanne had this to say ...

laugh it up... i am still gagging. that should go away soon, i hope. if not, tomorrow is garbage day! :)

At 8/14/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger Shannon had this to say ...

Hi Gina! When is that baby coming? Did you hear Elaina had Sean ... about 20 minutes after she got to the hospital? :)

Vickie, you got me. I said, "Dave! Scott and Vickie trapped a two-headed squirrel in their garage!" and he just gave me a look. Then, seeing that I was still confused, he said, "She's joking." I am officially Queen of the Gullibles.

Very funny. :)

Suzzanne, I'm so sorry you went through that. I'd still be gagging too if I'd had even a bite. I'm very thankful I wasn't a judge this year--first time in 9 years. You poor thing. :(


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