I can tell that December has rolled around when two things happen: strings of blinking lights appear around my cubicle just as poinsettias pop up on our desks, and at back at home I become preoccupied with chili.
This preoccupation is not, in fact, due to the fact that I am especially fond of chili. In fact, this is one of the only times of year I make it. Our friends Satoshi and Heather, however, began the tradition of a holiday chili cook-off several years ago, and each year there are those who try to outdo each other with the meatiest, spiciest, or just plain most unusual chili they can concoct. This year I've found myself getting more in the spirit of the event, and even determined to create a unique chili completely of my own making.
In the past, I admit to succumbing to the dull idea of following a recipe, generally one that included no tomatoes and no red meat, as I don't generally eat red meat, and I tend to prefer white beans and creamy sauces over the kidney beans and tomato sauce found in more familiar versions. The lack of red meat has really been a detriment to my winning any of the prizes, however. Last year, for example, the winning recipe featured generous use of bacon grease.
This year, all bets are off. Oh, I don't expect to win. I'm still steering clear of the red meat. But I have come up with something a little more, let's say, exciting. "What's that?" you ask. "Do tell!" Oh no, you're not getting it out of me that easily. This is a competition! My recipe must remain top secret. But I promise, if it goes well, I'll publish it here on Rutabagastories.
Tonight I began work on my creation, and stage one of the chili is now complete. Stage two will commence tomorrow evening, following which Michael and I will test the results at dinner. Finally, stage three will take place this Saturday, when I make any final adjustments deemed necessary. Stay tuned!