Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I'm Glad He Didn't Suggest I Buy Fava Beans, That Would've Really Freaked Me Out

Pin It Yesterday I had the day off and I made the mistake of wearing a sweater so I was feeling rather cozy and earth-motherish and decided that a really great way to spend my morning would be to make chili.

From scratch.

(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.")


(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.

  1. It's way too time consuming
  2. 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
  3. 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.
Anyway, I started checking myself out, and as I’m doing it Josh is retrieving things from the bagging area and putting them back in his little cart (self-check register: MA’AM, I’M NOT KIDDING, PUT DOWN THE MUSHROOMS AND BACK AWAY FROM THE REGISTER) so it's taking a while and I'm starting to escalate from born-in-Utah swear words to the actual kind. Fortunately the attendant sees me struggling and since she is not busy she comes over to help.

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. 


(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.


  1. As my 6 year old nephew would say (just pretend this font equals high pitched squeakiness) Creeeeeeeeeepyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

  2. I HATE self-checkout. it is evil. especially if you have your own bags, or don't want to put your 2 items in the bag.

  3. Sounds like a narrow escape!

  4. Yeah, well - I'd never, even wearing a Dale of Norway sweater, EVER be tempted to make chili. And I don't mind the self check - it gets you around the women with the coupons. And I'd have written it

    award winning "chili" myself.

    And I'm writing this sort of rolling around and kicking my feet, I suppose I'm one of those esoteric third halves guys. Except, and you'll have to forgive me for this - I kinda always hope Hester gets one more A. I mean, not in actual fact - just that she lives a normal life (for her) and then tells me about it.


  5. Ummm. That was supposed to read " . . .feet. I suppose . . .." Sorry. Really sorry. Still snickering.

  6. I'm totally changing that K. Good call.

  7. Ok. That is really strange and socially inappropriate. To badger a person to come to their car after you have already said no is right out of the serial killer handbook. Second-- if he is a really good cook and wins chili cook offs, he would know his recipe. It's chili, not rocket science.

    Last. Here is my crock pot tip for when it has to be in all day--- try to put the meat in frozen. :-). I won a chili cookoff last year with my famous recipe too. Ready for it? ( look, I didn't even need to check my car recipe). 1/2 bag of frozen chicken breasts, I bag frozen pre chopped onions ( did you know you can buy those.. Best frozen food ever), three cans white beans, I lg can tomato sauce, I small can diced tomatoes and one pkg ofthe cheapest chili seasoning package you can find. Put in crockpot on low for however long you are at work. :-). I do t believe in slicing, browning meat or using expensive ingredients with chili. Also, my kids hate it too. :-). They eat taco chips dipped on sour cream, the little meatballs.

  8. Neither of us know each other . . . I'm one of those blogging stalkers (also the born-in-Utah-kind) and I find you HILARIOUS. :)

  9. Best laugh of the day!

    I won a chili contest at my church once. There were only two other entries and one of them had Velveeta cheese instead of tomato juice in it. But I won fair and square -- my daughter swore she only voted 5 times--and they gave me a hand-decorated apron that I wear to this day, 8 years later.

    My secret ingredients? Promise you won't tell? Cinnamon and cocoa. Swear on my alley cat's lives. Nutmeg was close.

  10. I slaved once over a homemade chili all day. So did a bunch of other people. Then we went to the ward chili cook off. Then this girl Anna won. And then she confessed that she just dumped some Stagg chili into her crockpot. And so I don't make chili from scratch anymore. Like for the chili dinner at my son's school this Friday: warmed up Stagg for everyone!

  11. I don't understand the logic that slow cookers are supposed to be easier if you work because most recipes take 6-8 hours to make, and I'm away from home for at least 10 hours when I go to work (because I have a one hour commute each way, yay!). Some recipes might be okay if they cook longer, but most get ruined. Also, getting up even earlier to start dinner? No, thank you.

  12. Thanks for the laugh!

  13. Creeper. For sure. Only I bet he was the Sausage Killer...forget feeding you to his bunnies. He was a sausage maker, and that sausage was the key to his alleged chili success.


    Either that or he was hitting on you and just socially awkward. Like, he has a really nice car and wants to impress you with it to compensate for his lack of fashion acumen.

    Either way, he's still a creeper and I'm glad you stood firm. And shared it with the rest of us! ♥

  14. Well, I suddenly have an urge for chili..........and mace.
    Creepy guy that has a recipe in a car? "hey I got some candy"

    This post made me laugh!

  15. Oh yucky!

    My hubby makes awesome chili (for the record an equal amount of black beans & dark red kidney (firmer bean than pink) tastes great) & he puts cinnamon in it but I haven't heard of nutmeg. You could start a new trend!

  16. i feel certain (would bet my blue eyes, which i love) that you are right about the secret ingredient in that guy's award-winning chili.

    self-checkout... dead to me. i hate the harassment. stop yelling at me! honestly, it's as rude as most of the cashiers, but at least if i get in their line, they have to bag my groceries. :)

  17. Lisa G.7:50 PM

    Oh my word - you are too, too funny.

    Just also wanted to tell you how grateful I am at how you've shared some of your struggles - I am really glad to see you're back and all right.

  18. The worst part about the self-checkout is the bagging area - if my kids lean on it, touch it, breathe near it, the computer thinks I'm sneaking some unpaid for item into my bags and starts scolding me.

    Oh, and the serial killers behind me on line...they're bad, too...

  19. I love Bek, and you, and your chili.

    I'll email you a white chicken chili you CAN throw in the crockpot. It's basically amazeballs.

  20. Anonymous10:56 PM

    Oh the self check. That is exactly how I feel, so pressured and wound up.

    We miss you! Come back!


  21. Dude, the "come and look at something in my car" trick is usually about getting a woman's clothes off, not about hacking her into bits.

    Clearly, that earth-mother thing was working for you.

    p.s. I laughed all the way through the Lard post. That never happens.

  22. That better have been Perdue Tailgate chili or you just had a near death experience FOR NOTHING.

  23. When we lived in Park City there was a gal in the ward who was known as a good cook and party giver type person. I think that she may have gone to some fancy cooking school in NYC. Any how, she gave a Relief Society homemaking class once and revealed a few of her secrets. One was that it was OK to buy a prepared veggie plate at the grocery store, just don't serve it on the Albertson's signature tray. Transfer everything to your own lovely platter. I call that process "Nancyizing the food." (Her name was Nancy.) So it's perfectly OK to pass off Stagg chili as your own. Just don't serve it in it's signature can. And when people rave about it, just smile and say "Thank you".

  24. "Recipe in my car"... His next step would probably have been, "Oh, I guess I left it home. Call me tonight, and we can get together and talk about it." I think he hoped to spice up your life with something other than chili, you hot mama you. Take it as a sick compliment that he would hit on you, even when your kids are along.

  25. I don't mind the self check out, I can scan my groceries then just scan the bar code and pay and leave...pretty simple until there is a rush at the store because of an impending snow storm that is when I will scan all my groceries, scan the bar code and then get AUDITED. Meaning the attendant comes over and double checks my scanning abilities. Last time this happened the attendant asked if I have ever been audited before my response was yes "but only before impending snow storms of doom!!!:

  26. Oh yeah. You got that right. When some weirdo mixes recipe card up with a recipe car, there is a 99.9% chance of ending up as bunny food.

  27. Garden of Egan also got it right--you needed mace, not nutmeg.

  28. I was going to offer to share a chili recipe, but now I'm scared to! Funny story. What a gift to be able to write about every day like this. Glad I stumbled here.

  29. Jami is funny. So are you. Anywho, this is what you get for looking so HOT. (Am I the only one who said that? If so, I suspect something is really wrong with me. I guarantee I am not the only one who thought it, though.)

  30. Re: Melanie's and Grandma Cebe's story: In our old ward they had a men's cook-off once a year that was highly competitive, and the entries were highly delicious. One year it was discovered that the guy who won first place in the dessert category had used a commercial cake mix, but baked it in a Bundt pan, and from what I heard later, there were some bitter feelings from at least one of the losers who had baked from scratch. The winner's response was, "It's all about presentation." (I'm on his side; I think it's silly to get really competitive over a ward cook-off.)

    I used to cook my own beans and make chili from scratch. This is a three-step process: soak the beans, cook the beans, then make the chili. I make a whole crock pot full of beans, then vacuum-seal and freeze the extra beans for the next time. My chili was delicious and frugal--but my kids didn't like it, and it gave my husband heartburn. Still, I've been itching to try it again. Maybe it's been long enough that my kids will have forgotten they don't like it. (Hint if you ever try this: DO discard the water from soaking and cooking the beans. Apparently this gets rid of toxins/the stuff that causes, er, indigestion.)

    I have an idea for the next time a guy wants to show you a recipe in his car: ask him to pull it up for you on his iPhone instead. :) That should weed the sheep from the goats.

    Seriously, though, if you haven't yet read The Gift of Fear, you should read it, and then feel good that you did exactly the right thing. (And I have a story about that. The Gift of Fear says one indication of lying is "too many details," as when your grocery store jerk felt the need to tell you about his cook-off award, etc. People who are telling the truth don't feel the need to embellish to try to make their story more plausible. Well, several years ago my oldest son Isaac, who must have been about 8 or 9 years old, had heard me talking about that part of the Gift of Fear book. Then in the car we were listening to one of the Harry Potter books on audiobook, and Harry was lying to one of the professors (probably Snape) about something, and suddenly from the back seat Isaac piped up, "Too many details!"

    (Is there a prize for longest comment today? I should go back to my old strategy of re-posting my comments as my own blog posts.)

  31. (Probably it doesn't matter, but that word up at the beginning of the comments should be "stories," plural.)

  32. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Going anonymous for this one. This cracked me up but you are obviously not used to getting picked up on. Trust me, this guy was trying to pick up on you and was clueless about how to do it. You would not believe some of the things guys have said to me. I have heard it all, plenty of creepy things too and there can't be that many serial killers in the world. Guys are dumb and he is probably an extremely awkward person.

  33. Ugh, I can't even get a correction right! The word at the beginning of my first comment (singular) should be stories (plural). :)

  34. I'm NOT going anonymous. He was totally hitting on you.

    But in typical fashion, you thought he wanted to kill you. Welcome to the world where guys pick up on you.

    Never change, my dear friend. Heehee.

  35. I HATE SELF-CHECK. If I wanted to be a grocery checker, I would work at a grocery store. If I'm gonna do their job, they should pay me, or at least give me the employee discount. I mean really. I do the list-making, the selecting, the loading of the cart, the keeping-the-toddler-from-destroying-the-displays-ing, the pre-bagging of produce, the handling of the payment (remember when they did that FOR you?), and now you want me to scan and bag this shiz too? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Where's my paycheck, Kroger?

    Also, that guy was clearly a serial killer who wanted to date you. You're just that hot.

  36. Read the whole post, chuckling, and then saw the title again and snorted. Perfect title! I agree with others; he was totally hitting on you. Good call to back off! He's a creeper.

    But the main reason I am commenting is to bond over our shared loathing of the self-check. Why do I even do it? Ever? I now (can't believe I'm admitting this) start talking BACK to the annoying robot-woman in the machine. NO there is NO suspicious item in the bagging area you DWEEB. My children won't go near it with me anymore, and I have gotten some odd looks, not to mention a real live human safeway person who was laughing at me! Sigh. I can never go back now, and I love Safeway everything bagels.

  37. Read the whole post, chuckling, and then saw the title again and snorted. Perfect title! I agree with others; he was totally hitting on you. Good call to back off! He's a creeper.

    But the main reason I am commenting is to bond over our shared loathing of the self-check. Why do I even do it? Ever? I now (can't believe I'm admitting this) start talking BACK to the annoying robot-woman in the machine. NO there is NO suspicious item in the bagging area you DWEEB. My children won't go near it with me anymore, and I have gotten some odd looks, not to mention a real live human safeway person who was laughing at me! Sigh. I can never go back now, and I love Safeway everything bagels.

  38. LOL, I love how wearing sweater made you feel earth motherish!

  39. And another thing...I just want to stand in defense of self check. I love it because I am OCD about how my groceries are bagged. Using self check, I can be sure the bread doesn't get mashed and all the cold items are in the same bag. But the biggest benefit is that I can balance the weight. The bagger has no idea that I usually have to haul those bags into the house by myself. That 16 year old kid maybe able to haul 2 twenty pound grocery bags into the house, but not this lil' ol' grandma.

  40. If I want to have a really bad day I start it off with buying things through a self check stand. Swear words and snapping at my kids and then finally snapping at the self check stand person in charge is what happens every single time. Hate those darned things.

  41. One time I was sitting in my car in front of a 7-11 waiting for a friend who had gone inside. Across the way I saw a guy walking toward us and became convinced that he was on his way to rape us and not, in fact, headed for a cherry slurpee. This was before automatic locks (shut up) so I lunged across my friend to lock the door, and he looked at me, laughed and innocently held up his hands as if to say, "It's okay, I'm just here for the nachos." I felt kinda dumb, but come on now. After 10pm at a SEVEN ELEVEN?! I was right to be worried.