The Ethics of Chili


Book Tree

Andrew, still unpacking in Brooklyn, without a bookshelf or room for a  tree, got creative

Monday:              White bean and Greens Stew

Fountainbleau Cheese

Fromage Fort Appetizer

Tuesday:              Bourbon Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Salad


Wednesday:      Red Wine Rosotto, Green Salad

meatball soup

Thursday:            Meatball Soup with Arugula Toast


Friday:                  Poached Salmon with Dill and Arugula


Saturday:             Pizzas – Green Salad

chili bowl

Steve Raichlen’s ‘Pretty Good Beef and Pork Chili’

Sunday:                Beez’s Guacamole, Post-Game Chili

Well, strictly speaking, we are going to speak about the ‘situational ethics’ of chili, there being no discernable absolute truth about the subject.  But this question really touches on the ethical considerations every cook and every diner faces at every meal.  We’re going to approach this from the point of view of the cook – leaving the point of view of the diner to Vegans, the SPCG (The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Geese) and various other ‘woke’ and evolved sorts.

Here’s the situation:  Two tired, cold, wet and hungry men* come to your house after watching hours of heart-stopping football, suffering both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, and plodding along for a mile after the game.  You give them a Scotch to give a boost to their already considerable appetites and to dull slightly their discriminatory palates.  Contemplating this event, you realize before you begin cooking that you could probably serve these two Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and boiled hot dogs at this point and win their approval.

*Confession:  I was actually one of the two tired, hungry men.  Sorry to drift into meta-fiction, even slightly.

But, being an ethical sort, you have spent the morning before the big game, putting together a pile-driving pot of chili that Daniel Boulud would be proud to serve.  Well, that chili, which we’ve written about before– so good is it – is what we have to offer you in this week before Christmas.  In part, because none of the meals we had last week qualifies as holiday fare.  Alex Guarnaschelli’s Meatball Soup and Steve Raichlen‘s  ‘Really Good Beef and Pork’ chili are both worth cooking because they are simply wonderful to eat.  There’s a nice, deep heat to both of them, but if you’ve just gotten home from standing in the cold rain to watch a football game, the chili’s got to be your choice.  When you’re still shivering, it’s difficult to spoon up soup without getting a lot on your tie.  The more cohesive chili presents no difficulties.

(just click here to go to our September 25th post – the recipe is at the bottom of that post)

About that game:  UFR and I attend the Steelers home games together.  On the long walk back to Max’s Allegheny Tavern after the Steelers’ dramatic loss to the Patriots (disallowed touchdown after everyone thought the Steelers had won, followed by deflected pass for an interception and Patriot victory) I must have heard 1,000 comments along the following lines:  “We were robbed – the officials gave the game to the Patriots” and “If I were Ben, I would have spiked the ball so that we could kick a field goal and send the game into overtime.”

Well – I would agree that any rule (the completed catch) that most of the players and referees and all of the fans don’t understand should be changed.  But it wasn’t going to be changed last Sunday, and you win as many as you lose on bad calls over time.  As for the second comment, let me be a bit more emphatic.  First, you’re not Ben.  Second, the Ben who threw a perfect strike in the end-zone twice to beat Arizona and win a Super Bowl, the Ben who dove, head-first, for a touchdown against Seattle to win a Super Bowl, and the Ben who throws 3-4 bombs per game and comes from behind so often, that Ben ain’t going to spike a ball, if he sees a chance for a touchdown to win a game.

The beauty of last week’s game was that we got to see two of the best teams and two of the greatest quarterbacks who have ever played the game compete in a barn-burner with plenty of ups and downs for either side.  It was a privilege to be there.


The redundancy of snow on a white birch – Casa Stuarti

5 thoughts on “The Ethics of Chili

  1. Merry Christmas to the Stewart Family!
    Your expressions Bill are delughtful! I hope that you continue in the New Year to bring smiles on the faces of your clan and friends who join you for your creative good eats!

  2. Bill – First of all, as a Patriots fan (i did grow up in Boston, after all), my condolences – a tough loss in the rain, but you rightly say it was a good game – secondly, it was a pleasure to see you again this week at Cindertlands – have a Merry Christmas

Leave a Reply