“I’ve never made this chili before, so I am not expecting to win.” said May the morning of the ward youth’s Chili Cook-off Contest.
I knew better.
“You’ll win just the same.” I retorted.
But I was determined to make a good showing myself, so I did some serious research which required my serious face. I read recipes, scribbled ideas, and scrolled down web pages of chili glory. It took me all morning to find the right recipe, which I modified for my vegetarian palate. It was an all-spice, cinnamon and clove chili, which I renamed,
(are you ready for this?)
“I Am Done Bean Mister Spice Guy Chili.”
It simmered all day in my white crock-pot until my husband came home to test out a spoonful.
“Wow, it’s like Pumpkin Chili.”
This was a bad sign.
If my husband didn’t approve, neither would the Deacons.
That evening I brought my chili–with it’s cleverly named placard–to the serving bar in the cultural hall. Though our judges, the missionaries, were eager to start the taste testing, we waited for May and her piping pot to arrive. Meanwhile, one of the Elders smelled my entry “Apple Pie Chili?” he asked.
I handed out bowls to the youth as they came through the food line. Everyone skipped over my chili, except one Deacon who was feeling sympathetic. I served him up a ladle full.
“Try that!” I said hopefully.
Then two minutes later I heard, “Dude show me which kind you have so that I don’t get it.”
And the once-sympathetic-Deacon responded,”Shhhh. It’s Sister K’s [big whisper] AND SHE IS RIGHT THERE!”
Strangely, it had been that kind of day where I felt a lot like that chili. Spicy, fun, adventurous, but overly looked-over. So I look a little soupy . . . I can promise full flavor! Pair me up with the jalapeÃ±o spice corn bread (which I also brought) and taste PIZAZZ! Try me! Anyone?
But being placed near the sizzling pot called “Not For Vegetarians Chili” was no favoring happenstance. My chili grew cold until the bright faced Elder from Kentucky scooped up a bowl.
“Mmmm. This is real good.”
“Shoot.” I said back, turning a bit pink. “It’s a right darn pity that I am already baptized!” (Where did my sudden Southern drawl come from?)
But all it took was one compliment to bring back my confidence. My chili wasn’t the most popular, but it had one fan, and one fan is all you need. After all, isn’t that the gospel of Jesus Christ?
I was the first to congratulate May after she won.
Her chili was called “Magnificent.”
On second thought, I should of gone with a more simple title.