This year the Franklin County Fair thought they would try something new... a chili cook off! Yeah! That is right up our ally. As a native Texan I love chili. My husband who also lived there got to experience what he calls chili like none other. He loves there style of chili. He makes it for me and my Dad, native Texan also, with such enthusiasm.
As a large extended family we love to go to chili cook offs. I have been going since I was a kid and think it is so much fun to take my parents and kids now that I am an adult. Every year at the beginning of winter we look forward to Ice fest. A great celebration that my family starts off with attending their chili cook off. Nothing warms you better than walking up and down the city's streets looking at the amazing ice sculptures after being warmed up by tons of competitors chilies. And each year we seam to take more people as my brother and niece came this year. Here is me and my then 3 year old sampling some of the best. I guess baby is sampling it too as he was still in my belly.
At a local produce barn I grabbed a fair catalog. In it I saw an announcement. 1st annual Franklin County Fair chili cook off. I told my husband about it and immediately it was something he wanted to enter. I was excited he was so excited. He had made a new chili for us the week before and said that is the one I want to enter. That is the best Texas chili ever. With all that excitement I did not want to rain on his parade but his idea off chili is a bit different that the local Pennsylvanians ideas of chili.
As best and gently I tried to explain that to him. He understood SOMEWHAT. I also had to tell him that most people do not like to eat chili as hot as he does. He just can't seem to understand that one though. But in agreement with me he said he would chose to make a different chili.
Still he was excited. He wanted to use a secret ingredient, hard to find peppers we litterly traveled hours to buy and even had some shipped in from Texas (foreshadowing). Along with fresh daily picked peppers form his pepper garden. He thought with the fresh peppers and hard to find peppers and spices he had it in the bag.
Finally the day off the cook off came. In the weeks before his excitement had led to hundreds of dollars of purchases for this event and now not only could he show the county his culinary chili skills he could play with all the "toys" he had got for it. That he swears to me will be useful otherwise, and they do look great filling up the floor space in my house and shed. Utilitarian decorating. We now can whip out a bowl of chili in our shed, living room or kitchen anytime we want!
We got there in the morning, excited and nervous. Two vehicles, tons of gear, a growing number of kids we all unloaded and were eager to help. That was until the children saw the rides and animals. See ya honey! We will be back in time to try it and vote for you! So I along with his little sous chefs took off.
He started cooking. The smells were entrancing. People were counting down the hours until it was time to taste it. At 4 it was that time. He ladled it out to many tasters. Even the kids and I came back.
It was great! But I was surprised. Yup he had made a HOT chili that was very much like Texas chili. It did not have the heartiness of traditional chili. It was a good chili but still not the idea of what you would think of when you thought chili. I became nervous as to what the county would think. They liked it. But in the end they chose a traditional chili as first place.
However Jay won 2nd!!!!! Congratulations to the Jay.
The boys were happy to see their dad up on stage receiving his award and check!
We are all so proud of him. He left the competition happy but said next year I am going to make something that the masses want. Ah hum!?! And we can't wait to try it. Check out that beautiful not doctored up at all, really, Pennsylvanian sky. Beautiful.