Recently I was honored to be selected to judge at a chili cook-off
(because no one else wanted to do it). Also the original person called in sick at the last
moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge's table asking directions to the
beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili
wouldn't be all that spicy, and besides they told me I could have free beer during the
tasting, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you endure when you're an
Internet writer and therefore known and adored by all.
Here are the scorecards from the event:
Chili # 1: Mike's Maniac Mobster Monster Chili
JUDGE ONE: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick.
JUDGE TWO: Nice, smooth tomato flavor Very mild.
ANGELPIG: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that's the worst one. These people are crazy.
Chili # 2: Arthur's Afterburner Chili
JUDGE ONE: Smoky (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.
JUDGE TWO: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
ANGELPIG: Keep this out of reach of children! I'm not sure what I am supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The bartender looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night.
Chili # 3: Fred's Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
JUDGE ONE: Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans.
JUDGE TWO: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.
ANGELPIG: This has got to be a joke. Call the EPA, I've located a !?##?!?%?~ uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Bartender pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. The tattooed name 'Bubba' on his shoulder was the last thing I saw as I passed out.
Chili# 4: Bubba's Black Magic
JUDGE ONE: Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
JUDGE TWO: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
ANGELPIG: I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Bubba was standing behind me with fresh refills so I wouldn't have to dash over to see him.
JUDGE TWO: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
ANGELPIG: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Bubba saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. Sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Chili # 6: Vera's Very Vegetarian Variety JUDGE ONE: Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
JUDGE TWO: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, and garlic. Superb.
ANGELPIG: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Bubba. I asked if he wants to go dancing later.
Chili # 7: Susan's Screaming Sensation Chili
JUDGE ONE: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
JUDGE TWO: Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment. I should note that I am worried about Judge Number 3, she appears to be in a bit of distress.
ANGELPIG: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I wouldn't feel it. I've lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Good! At autopsy they'll know what killed me. I've decided to stop breathing, it's too painful and I'm not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air I'll just let it in through the hole in my stomach. Call the X-Files people and tell them I've found a super nova on my tongue.
Chili # 8: Helen's Mount Saint Chili
JUDGE ONE: This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge Number 3 fell and pulled the chili pot on top of herself.
JUDGE TWO: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold, but spicy enough to declare its existence. ANGELPIG: Mommaa
(Received via internet mail. Author unknown,
but I sure would like to thank them for a rib-tickling,
laughed-til-I-bawled, story.) The AngelPig
What is a Chile Pepper Ristra? 'Ristra' is Spanish for 'string', so literally it is a string of peppers. Fresh peppers are strung to dry then used as needed for cooking or left as decoration. In the tradition of the Southwestern U.S., pepper ristras are hung outside the front doors of homes in the fall to welcome guests.