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Eenie Meenie Chili Beanie
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I love making chili because it's a lot like writing a novel. Novels are capacious enough that, if you have some cool idea or insight that really captivates you during the writing, you can probably work it in there somewhere (unless it's completely irreconcilable with the novel's ground rules). With chili, the same -- it's roomy enough to allow experimentation and a margin for error. Want to add Vietnamese hot sauce? Go for it. Crazy bitter Mexican chocolate flakes? Sure, toss a few in. Something with a label written in Chinese that looks/smells/tastes like peppers in some kind of garlic sauce? Try it!

I made chili today. It turned out well. I made one batch with real meat (for me) and one with soy meat (for Heather), but they were otherwise pretty much identical. The spiciness worked out well again -- the chili peppers hit first, then the Vietnamese hot sauce in the middle, and the wasabi kicks in at the finish. Thanks to Barth for suggesting Muir Glen tomatoes -- they definitely took the chili to the next level. I added some coffee this time (strongly-brewed Santa Cruz full city roast), which added a certain robustness to the body, though if I had it to do over again, I'd put in more than a cup and a half (I'd probably double it). We'll be eating well for the next few days.

I can't explain why making chili makes me so happy, but it feels very much like creative work, like doing art -- it satisfies the same needs and impulses. And, when I'm done, I get to eat it, which is totally a bonus.

Yesterday I finished major operations on Rangergirl. All that's left is to re-read the book and make sure all my changes propagated properly through the manuscript, that there aren't artifacts from previous drafts, etc. And I need to do a last line edit. I'll do all that throughout this week and next weekend. For today, I made chili, and listened to a David Sedaris audiobook while I cooked, and I've been reading In the Night Room by Peter Straub. Oh, what a glorious Sunday.

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