3 February 2018

Let Me Count the Ways

An entertaining aspect of aging is remembering how much you used to eat.  My God, the quantities!  And of course when you cooked for your friends, you had to cook lots, especially in my case since i could seat eight around my table.  So your recipes ended up being for large amounts, and it’s hard to remember that since you and your friends are eating less than half what they used to, you ought to cook only half as much.

Recently i cooked dinner for some friends, including as the entree my Texas Chili, a recipe revolving around five pounds of meat.  So after the guests had stumbled away gorged to the eyebrows i was left facing two-thirds of the chili and what to do with the leftovers.  Let me count the ways.

  1. In a bowl with sides of beans and tortilla chips.   Boring after the first few days, but luckily the leftover beans didn’t last that long.
  2. Poured into a bag of Fritos®.  An old Texas favorite.    Note that the proper way to open the bag is not to go in from the top.  No no.  You turn the bag sideways and slit it open with a knife to make it easier both to pour in the chili and to eat from.  You can tart this treat up by putting some chopped lettuce and tomato in there, but it’s routinely gobbled “animal style” (pace, In-n-Out®).  Also note that you must use the little individual serving bags of Fritos.  I mean, did you ever try to get two Texans to eat peacefully out of the same bag?
  3. In a chili-dog.  The problem i find in this delicacy almost everywhere i’ve tried it is that the chili isn’t worth eating.  Back in Texas the problem was never with the chili but rather with the dog because really good frankfurters are almost impossible to find in Texas, or at least they were fifty years ago when i left.  The solution here in San Francisco used to be to make your own chili and buy Frankfurter Wurstchen at Hans Speckmann, the legendary German deli on Church Street.  Alas, folks got too lazy to make a trip to Speckmann’s and subsisted on Safeway’s ersatz swill, so Speckmann’s gradually withered away.  Nowadays the solution is to go out in the avenues to one of the Russian delis for the frankfurters.  I like Royal Market and Bakery on Geary Avenue because they seem to have the widest selection of sausages.  The “Royal” is for Tsar Nicholas II.
  4. A generous scoop on top of a baked Garnet (no substitutes!) yam.  Surmounted with a large blob of quark or skyr.  The creamy sweetness of the yam is cut by the piquancy of the chili, and this is an especially good option if the chili turned out hotter than usual.

 

Meanwhile a shot into Heath Ceramics, 2900 18th Street.

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