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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It wouldnít be quite right to say Iíve never made chili before. Iíve made it from mixes and fixinís, but Iíve never made it from scratch until tonight. I think maybe I should stick to the mixes and fixinís, or the real stuff that you pour out of the can. I will say one thing, though. I definitely got it hot enough to qualify as a representative example of Rachaelís Raginí Cajun Chili, which was my starting point for this feast.

I had an immediate handicap because I donít have a Dutch oven or stock pot big enough to accommodate all of the ingredients, so I had to crowd everything into the biggest pot I have. It fit, but barely. And since Rachael doesnít believe in measuring, I didnít bother. I just guessed, and apparently I guessed a little too high on the cayenne and the cumin. Good stuff, but better in moderation. (On the other hand, I couldnít get the paprika out of the can, so I gave up after I got about half the required amount.)

My biggest mistake was putting in too much liquid. It never did reduce down to the consistency of actual chili. I even let it stay on the stove almost twice as long as Rachael recommended, the result of which was that it was way hotter in every way than I really like it. But I ate it. Two heaping bowls full of it, in fact, with the chopped scallions (but not the Fritos) on top. For most of my life I havenít been able to eat anything remotely spicy, but Iím getting there. It took about half a loaf of bread to soak up the heat, but I did it. And I have oh so much left over.

5 October 2006

Cloud chasm.

One thing Iíll do differently next time, if there is a next time, is use less celery. Or maybe Iíll just chop it up finer, because the chunks of celery seemed to dominate the dish. And obviously Iíll use less stock to thin it out, so I can eat it with a fork like chili, instead of with a spoon like soup. Which is pretty much what I made. But I have big reheating plans for the next few days (or weeks). I plan to jazz up the leftovers to make up for my failings as a first-time chili maker. Itís bound to get better.

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If you had told me a month ago that Jeff Weaver would outpitch Tom Glavine in the pivotal fifth game of the NLCS, I wouldnít have believed it. I probably wouldnít have believed it yesterday, considering the fact that a rainout gave Glavine an extra day of rest. But the Cardinals got to him early, and the Mets never made much of a dent in the impressive Cardinal pitching staff, from Weaver on down, as St. Louis took a 3-2 series lead with a methodical 4-2 win tonight. The next two games (or one, if the Mets keep losing) will be played in New York, where the fans are kind of hungry for a winner. Weíll see if that helps.

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One year ago: Ambush
"If it hadnít been for the part about the money, I would have stepped up and admitted I dropped the ball."

Two years ago: Weathered
"The wipers have seven speeds, so Iím prepared for any type or amount of rain. Well, the car is prepared. Iím definitely not."

Three years ago: Friday Night
"They unwind, they let it all hang out, they get their groove on, they boogie down. That's what's special about Friday night."

Four years ago: Etched
"There was to be a game on this date, October 17, 1989, but instead the earth rocked and rolled and swallowed up cars and bridges and people."

Five years ago: Nonlethal
"One other thing that isn't going to kill me is an earthquake. The fault lines had their shot at me already, and they missed."

Six years ago: Not the Big One
"At that point we had no idea of the level of devastation throughout the area, and were still waiting to see if a game would be played."

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