Dropping temperatures around the Texas Coast this week have ushered in the return of several cold weather traditions.
The power lines are filled with hundreds of migrating birds each evening looking for a place to rest up for the night.
Locals are dressed like they are ready to catch a ski lift in their puffy jackets and fuzzy boots.
And I have a never ending craving for chili.
Now, in fairness around this part of Texas I am sure there are people for whom chili is an every week kind of meal.
After all, with so many chili cook offs to enter one would need to spend the entire year perfecting the recipe prior to the start of competition season.
And with the start of various hunting seasons there are all sorts of exotic meat beyond cow that people can put in their Texas chili.
More power to those who have the year round urge for chili but for me the urge to eat chili coincides with falling leaves and falling temperatures.
Of course I can eat a chili dog or chili cheese fries year round but to sit down with an actual bowl of chili as the main course takes temperatures below 60 degrees.
Over the past few weeks I have sampled chili of all shapes and sizes but much like Goldilocks and her porridge I have not really found one that has been just right.
Growing up my mom made a certain chili which much like her special birthday meatloaf just always tasted good.
Add the fact that the chili was always served in bowls that had gold leaf accents, and it truly was a meal fit for a king.
A few weeks back I went over to my parents’ house to watch a college football game and eat some chili. The chili was not served in the gold bedazzled bowls from my youth and did not quite taste the same even though I am sure it was the same recipe but the visual was different.
In the days and weeks since that first chili I have had Steak ‘n Shake chili, Dairy Queen chili, and even some Wendy’s chili but none of them have really scratched my chili loving itch.
While Wendy’s chili was one of the first standalone fast food options in that segment I have not found it as enjoyable since my body decided it no longer liked green peppers.
Last night, much like many nights before it, I was once again craving chili. But as I drove along the road with the intent to stop and get some chili to eat at home I started eliminating one option after another.
The Wendy’s chili was ruled out due to the aforementioned green pepper issue.
Steak ‘n Shake was on the wrong side of the freeway and I did not want to battle traffic.
Dairy Queen would have me put the chili on a hot dog or a burger since they did not have a standalone option and that didn’t work since what I was wanting was just chili without the hot dog or the beef patty on a bun.
So with three strikes I tried to think of other places to get chili.
Now, Waffle House has yummy chili but much like Steak ‘n Shake it was in the opposite direction from where I was heading so it was also ruled out.
The same was true of a mom and pop sub shop that makes chili from scratch.
In the end I did not have chili last night and instead had some sushi which is about as far away from a steaming bowl of chili as one could find.
The temperatures are predicted to be even colder over the next couple of days which means I will be even more likely to want some chili.
I guess if all else fails I can try to make my own chili but that would require me to go grocery shopping and come up with a chili recipe.
While I love to experiment in the kitchen, that seems like a non-chili season effort.
If all else fails I guess I can just get some cans of Hormel chili to keep on standby in the event of a chili craving emergency.
My quest for cold weather chili will likely continue at least until the temperatures around here climb back into the 80’s by the end of the week at which point it will once again be too hot for delicious warm you to the core chili until the next cold front rolls through and gives us a couple days of winter..
I know people in the colder climates who have about 8 months of chili season are probably laughing right now at the fact that winter has just now arrived on the Gulf Coast but it is not like we really can control the weather. Besides, the palm trees like it hot.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to call my mom and see if I can place a to go order for some chili.
Copyright 2013 R. Anderson