I had been out last night (because I’m a ‘mover and a shaker’) and had a curious exchange with a friend’s hubby. His wife, my friend, who was present during the exchange, doesn’t cook, unless you count microwaving frozen foods and slapping sandwhich meat between a couple of bread slices. I can say this because she has told me as much, and I have witnessed her preparing these “meals” for our children.
But, back to the exchange. Seems friend’s hubby, who’s a really good cook and loves to talk about food, mentioned that he had made some vegetarian chili, since he’s currently fasting and gave up beef, or meat in general…I can’t recall. His wife praised his results and I suddenly felt like Kaukab. Unwrenching feelings of being outdone. I was as surprised by it as much as I’m sure you were of hearing it.
I wanted to know what made his vegetarian chili better than mine. I urgently quizzed him of his chosen ingredient list, much the way I had with the woman who sold me (out) her peach salsa last summer. I recounted my ingredients alongside his in my mind, visually scanning back and forth to see what was amiss. And, then he mentioned “tomato juice.” Tomato juice. That’s it! I had used a can of crushed tomatoes, to which I had loosened with water. I usually used whole, peeled tomatoes, since they made a less tomato-y, saucy chili. I had used tomato juice a few times, but tended to eschew it for the reason, prior, of making it too thick and tomato-y. But, for girlfriend’s hubby, it worked. Plus, he didn’t use cumin, the “missing” ingredient I had mentioned in my chili post, and which I believed was the culprit in my vegetarian chili-making downfall. In fact, this vegetarian chili-maker never used cumin. In anything. He even disclosed, unabashedly and rather proudly, that he didn’t even know what to use it for. I know. I agree; it’s hard to fathom such thinking. But there it is.
Worse, still. I had been in a vegetarian chili cook-off and didn’t even know it.
And, I lost.
Excuse me, while I take this call from Kaukab.