(Half of you are thinking “oh, how nice - chili” and the other half of you are thinking "oh great is this a COOKING blog now?", and the other half of you (it's the new math) (just go with it) who have read my blog for more than ten minutes are thinking “Oh dear - this won’t end well”.)
(See: Exhibit A.) (Or, oh geez, Exhibit B.) (See also: recent Facebook status update: "When your crockpot recipe for barbecue shredded chicken says that it should cook on low for 5 or 6 hours, do not mentally translate that in your head to "cook all day" and then put everything in the crock pot at 5:30 in the morning before you leave for work. Because by the end of the day, what you will have my friend? Is CHICKEN SLUDGE. And once again your family will be forced to eat the sludge while make encouraging faces, lest you give up the cooking battle entirely and force them to eat peanut butter forever.")
(Followed by my own exasperated follow-up comment: "I just - DO NOT UNDERSTAND why I can't follow directions. I'm a tech writer. I WRITE DIRECTIONS FOR A LIVING. IT SHOULD NOT BE THIS DIFFICULT.")
(AND YET IT IS.)
(Although I believe I come by my cooking quirks naturally, AHEM.)
Anyway, Josh and I ran to the store to buy a few things for the chili, namely: ground beef, chili powder, two onions, a green pepper, a clove of garlic, a can of tomato sauce, two cans of kidney beans, two cans of diced tomatoes, etc., etc., etc., and the whole time I'm muttering to myself that I should just go put all of that stuff back and BUY A CAN OF CHILI because WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IT ALL COMES FROM A CAN.
Also, I'd left my list at home on the counter, so I was buying things based on the list of ingredients in my head and I wasn’t sure what kind of tomatoes to get. Or what kind of beans. Or what kind of spice type items (which explains how I ended up buying nutmeg) (nugmeg in chili - it's all the rage these days).
But I PRESSED ON, you guys. FOR THE CHILDREN. (The ungrateful, ungrateful children. When I set the bowl of chili in front of Jake at dinner time he immediately made a face and started to whine about it, and I told him that if he didn't quit it IMMEDIATELY he would be going to bed with no dinner, and the expression on his face indicated that wasn't much of a threat.)
Anyway, when we were done shopping we went to check out and nothing was open but the self-check and I HATE the self-check, I LOATHE it, I wish it dead.
- It's way too time consuming
- It's hard to simultaneously check yourself out and keep your two year old from fulfilling his One Great Desire in Life (to lick the grocery bag carousel), and
- That stupid bagging thing is just so freaking suspicious. "Put the item in the bagging area." "Please put the item in the bagging area!" "PUT THE ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA." I leave feeling all stressed out and disrespected and cynical about the world.
Meanwhile some guy with two non-produce type items in his cart comes up behind me and stands there.
Attendant: Sir, this is the self-check, you can go ahead and use this register over here.
Guy: I’ll wait.
Attendant: You don’t need to wait, you can use the self-check.
Guy: Nah, I’d rather have you do it.
Attendant: DEATH GLARE
Me: torn between thinking he’s a jerk and bonding with him based on our mutual hatred of self-check
The guy starts asking me if I’m making chili, and I tell him, yeah, I hope so, and I explain that I forgot my list and I’m not sure if I got the right stuff or not, but hopefully it would work out, jabber jabber mindless jabber.
The guy tells me that if it would help, he has a great recipe I could take a look at.
OUT IN HIS CAR.
(Because, sure, that’s where everyone keeps their chili recipes – IN THEIR VEHICLES.)
Do I want to come take a look at it by any chance? Hmmmmmm?
I don't know why my fairly large and healthy fear of serial killers hadn't kicked in yet - maybe because he was wearing a Hogle Zoo sweatshirt and everyone knows that serial killers don't wear sweatshirts (too obvious) (they stick to flannel and/or business attire).
I was thinking that he was – I don’t know – awkwardly trying to be friendly or something so I just shook my head and tried to insert my money into the stupid bill collector thing (which is not something you should attempt when you are frazzled).
The guy kept going though, saying stuff like, “well, o.k., but it’s a really great recipe,” and “are you sure you don’t want to check to see if you have the right tomatoes” and "I won the chili cook-off last year" and “it’s really no trouble - it’s just right out there in my car”. (Probably the same car where he keeps his collection of knives and ice picks and dessicated eyeballs.)
I ended up looking him in the eye and saying, "No thank you!" fairly aggressively and loudly, (at which point he held both hands up in the air like, "hey, I was just trying to be helpful") (but you guys, he totally wanted to kill me and feed me to his rabbits, I could tell), and since I'd called attention to his creepiness, he had no choice but to abandon his plan to secretively get me out to his car, hack me into bits, and make me the newest secret ingredient in his award winning "chili".
Anyway, we got out of the store, made it safely to the car, and sped home, where I said a little prayer of thanks, got ready to cook, and dammit all if I didn’t have the wrong kind of tomatoes.