Last night, I had a dream that all of the bloggers from the blogs I read, myself included, were living under one roof. It was a sweet-ass place, like on a season of Real World without the cameras and the confessionals. Everyone seemed to get along just fine. (And I certainly wasn’t complaining about being the only man in a house full a women, but in reality I’m pretty sure I’d be miserable.) About half-way through the dream, I realized that I was dreaming. I remember thinking, “I really need to find a better way to waste my idle time at work than read blogs if I’m actually dreaming about these people.” Eventually, the house-community fell apart, just like in a Real World season, and was ravaged by failed relationships and whatnot. (What bothers me most about this isn’t that there were relationships in the house, but that I wasn’t involved in any of them. It’s MY dream, damn it. Why can’t I get some action in my own damn dream??!! Oh, right, I was too busy asking the girls what New York and Los Angeles were like… very smooth, Stuck. This is why you’re still single.) Anyways, it was pretty interesting, and I thought my readers would get a kick out of it, since most of them are the people I was dreaming about.
Last night, the roommate and I cooked. It wasn’t really a going away celebration or anything fancy, but we’re both just sick of fast food and take out, and he had some frozen ground beef he wanted to use before he moved out. We didn’t really think things through, though, because once the meat was browned, we had to decide what to do with it. There were no hamburger buns, no Hamburger Helper… So we had to make a choice.
Cooking is not something that happens in the house very often. I realize that many of you don’t consider browning ground beef as cooking, but it is to me. In fact, anything that involves turning a knob on that big box that makes food hot is cooking. (The big box that makes food hot is not to be confused with the little box that makes food hot. Using the little box, so I hear, is called microwaving.) Anyway… the point is that I’m never going to be a contestant on Iron Chef, or a guest on Rachel Ray’s show. So we had to make a choice on what to do with this cooked meat…
We could boil spaghetti (which I also consider to be cooking, but I’m good at it) and add the meat to the spaghetti sauce.
We could try to scrounge together enough ingredients to make chili.
We could pour ketchup over it an eat it like that.
I pulled out the jar of spaghetti sauce to find that there was just under half a cup left. Not enough to put a pound of beef in and have it still be called sauce. I set the jar on the counter without checking the expiration date. I have a history of letting things expire.
I like chili, and I didn’t have a single bowl through winter, so I really liked this idea. Plus, the idea of ketchup over ground beef was not appealing. So I opened the door above the big box that makes food hot, to reveal the shelves of things to add to food to make taste. I found a packet of chili seasoning, and a bottle of chili powder amidst the other bottles of the taste-makers.
No tomato base, though. I went to the walk-in closet that is in the kitchen, where I store my hockey stick, ice skates, rollerblades, frisbee, and a few cans of soup and other canned things. I’ve had a couple of women tell me that this walk-in closet is called a pantry, and that my sporting equipment should not be in there. I just laugh and say that shelf-space, especially shelf-space that can be hidden behind a closed door, is prime real estate in my house, and I’m not going to have a million empty shelves just sitting around. I didn’t find any tomato-related goop in there, but I did find a can of chili beans, which I pulled out.
So we had cooked beef, chili seasoning, chili powder, and chili beans. And under half a cup of spaghetii sauce. That would have to do for the base. I dumped the sauce into a pot, and laughed. It didn’t even cover the entire bottom of the pot. Time to get creative. Time to… take it up a notch!
I added a small amount of water… and then a little Jack Daniels and Crown Royal. The roommate didn’t like that idea, but when I suggested he make a trip to the store, he just nodded and made the “keep pouring” motion. Next, I added the chili beans. Thank God they had some juice in there, because it made the concoction look a little bit like something edible. But it was too soupy. I don’t like soupy chili.
Wait a second, salsa is tomato-based, right? And it has peppers and crap in it that are not strangers to chili, right? Three globs of salsa later, the soupy base looked a little more solid. I scooped the meat in and began stirring, slowly adding the chili packet in as I did, and a little chili powder… and oregano… and pepper… and garlic powder…
In the end… it looked like chili. In a way that chili you get at Wendy’s looks like chili. Visible meat. Visible beans. Visible onions and/or peppers. Semi-solid tomato-like goop. It was time. I made the roommate take the first bite.
He made the “what the fuck did I just put in my mouth” face. More chili seasoning. Stir. Make roommate taste again. He made the “that’s better, but don’t make me taste anymore” face. The rest of the chili packet. Taste it myself.
I’m not a fan of fast food chili, but I don’t hate it. I had just discovered the secret recipe for fast food chili, or maybe high school cafeteria chili. It was edible. It had the right amount of spices and the right amount of meat. But it lacked the tomato flavor, and we can all guess why. Anyway, we ate all of it, and were both full. So I guess the mission was accomplished.
Next time, though, I’m going to the store.
*Mundanity is not a word, though it should be.