Friday, November 22, 2013

Becky's Big Lebowski Birthday Bash Chili: Beefy or Veggie

I'm having some friends and family over for my birthday tonight.  We're going to watch "The Big Lebowski," wear our robes, drink White Russians, and possibly use the hammock Will got me for my forty-third birthday as a bobsled slide since it iced overnight.

I decided to serve chili.  Two reasons.  Reason number one: see above.  It's freaking freezing outside.  Warm bellies inside make happy partiers.  Reason number two: it pleases most people.  It's easy to cook two pots of chili, one with meat and one without.  Most of my friends eat meat, but I do have quite a few vegetarian or flexitarian or whatever friends.  I have lots of whatever friends when it comes to many topics.  It's usually the whatever that I like most about my friends.

I don't eat beef, so I'm used to cooking chili in two pots, one for me and one for Will and Katie.  It will be nice to have people to share my pot tonight.  Dude, too bad we don't live in Colorado or that last sentence could have a double meaning.  It is a Big Lebowski party, after all.

It might seem strange that I don't eat beef but I'm willing to cook with it.  It's all because of Will.  When I fell in love with Will I found myself doing things I didn't think I'd ever do: cooking him meals with beef, buying a house in the suburbs, and listening to a Frank Zappa CD without hating it.  

Beef is gross, but it's not the only gross food I'm willing to handle for someone I love.  I also think baby barley cereal is disgusting, but Katie loved it when she was six months old, so I happily fed it to her.  I have to hold my nose when I feed my pets because their food is so nauseating, but it makes me happy to see them wolf it down.  If you come to my house I'll cook you what you like because I like the look on your face, as long as I don't have to hack off a face.  Or God forbid, devein a shrimp.  You know those are not veins, right?

So, because it's my birthday and I'm spending my time doing what I want, I decided to blog about the beefy chili I made, with love, for my beef loving friends despite my revulsion to beef.  How ambiguous can this life get?!  Happy birthday to me, dear blog friends.


I inherited this pot and spoon after my parents' divorce.  My dog Sawyer chewed on the handle, but it's one of my favorite cooking utensils.  It reminds me of when I'd watch Mom cook chili using the same pot and spoon.


I hope my guests understand that I don't expect presents, but I do expect them to help me with the housework.  The DJ will announce over my PA: "Any dishwashers in the house?"


Yellow onions are the best.  Look, there's the knife Will got me for Christmas last year.  It's my favorite knife.  Am I the only person who gets attached to kitchen utensils and plays favorites?  I wonder if my other knives bully this knife when they're all in the drawer together because they're jealous of my love for it.  That's a joke.  When are my knives all clean at the same time?  More likely they're all about to jump my good knife inside the sink.


Beef is disgusting, but even I like the smell of it frying with onions.


As in most things in life, I don't follow directions.  I hope my guests appreciate this about my cooking as much as they appreciate it about my worldviews.


As usual, I was neglecting the vegetarians.  I forgot to take pictures of the beginning stages of my fine veggie chili.  Oh well, here's what it looks like mid-way.  My father-in-law makes it better than I do (and he's a beef lover too, so it's sweet of him to make a vegetarian one just for me when we visit.)  He's the person from whom I stole the idea to add hominy.


Back to the beefy chili.  I slip in some black beans and hominy just to make it more colorful.


All done.  Weird.  Notice the time.  From start to finish it took me one hour, exactly.  That was unplanned.  I hope it's a good omen my guests will like their beefy chili.


And for those who don't believe in omens or beef or they just want to try something different, they can share my pot of Becky's Big Lebowski Birthday Bash Veggie Chili.