1200 Watts of Freedom: Volume IV

Taking a ride on the chili express…

I know I’m going to lose a lot of fans here, but let me be up front with you: despite the disaster that was Volume III, I’ve been cooking. Not only that, I’ve been getting’ into it. Have I enjoyed the food? Not so much, but the process. My word, the process is downright invigorating. You gather up all of your stuff, you put things in things, you put stuff on the things in the things. Apply heat, which is cool, because FIRE. Stir it up, flinging stuff all over the walls and floor. Wham, bam, alakazaam! Next thing you know, you’ve got this mound of beans and rice in a plastic container and—believe it or not—you can then eat it instead of spending $12 on something that someone else made for you and tastes infinitely better. What a deal! I get why Donald Trump eats at McDonald’s six times a day: he’s a rich, lazy slob. Consequently, he probably wears a diaper. The man is like one huge irritable bowel.

Anyhow, this week we’re not here to talk about me. Instead, I’m going to give back to my community in the form of chili. And not even just because it’s the only thing I can successfully make. Although it is indeed mostly because of that.

Gearing Up
To make chili, you basically need your doodads and your spices. My choice of doodads usually include kidney beans, black beans, and corn. You use exactly one can of each because that’s the size they come in. Sometimes I’ll get fancy and chuck some random Morningstar product in and chop it up, but I can tell you’re not the fancy type. Seriously, just look at your shoes. You need to put yourself out there a little more.

In terms of spices, grab some of the following: chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper powder, paprika powder, black pepper…powder, and salt (…powder). You do one tablespoon of chili powder and cumin, one half tablespoon of the garlic, onion and paprika, and then just kind of dump some of the rest in. I dunno, I usually lose the ability to concentration on what I’m doing by this point. What I can tell you is that it’s A. Important to use the powdered versions of all of this because who the hell knows what’ll happen if you use fresh items, and B. Step up the cayenne starting with a quarter tablespoon until it’s as hot as you like it, then add salt slowly.

Fun Fact: Did you know that chili tastes like cumin, not chili? Yep. That’s totally what that taste is. Between this and quantum field theory, I don’t feel like I know which way is up anymore.

After you’ve got all of this together, get a deep frying pan and put a little bit of olive oil in it. The pan will make you look like more of a bad*ss than a pot, and the oil will help keep your food from burning. Just open up your cans, dump them into a colander, wash out all of the weird can water, and then dump them in the pan. Toss on the spice dust, fire up the burner, and boom—you’re done! Only no, you’re not.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Your Face Off the Burner
With your burner set on high, hang out until some weird noises come from the pan. Like the sound you’d expect to hear coming from a Doozer’s corpse after it accidentally ate a pop rock. At this point start stirring stuff around and lower the heat to like a 6 or 7 or so. Every couple of minutes be sure to keep it moving around and take a little nibble. Adjust your spice mixture until you’re sure you have caused irrecoverable damage to the flavor profile.

This boring sh*t is going to need to continue for a good 15 minutes or so. Honestly, it’ll be done after about 5 minutes, but then you’ll be left wondering why you didn’t just microwave it. You can mitigate your time by watching YouTube videos and occasionally going to the bathroom and then rushing back to see if anything boiled over or exploded.

Fun Fact: Maybe don’t try to pull off a quick Greater Rift run in Diablo III while you wait, because you know as well as I do that sometimes you’ll get stuck in a nasty one. If it’s between wasting your keystone or your house burning down, it’s gonna be the house.

Making It Eatable
After things are sufficiently mashed, stirred, heated, and taste tested, take your pan off of the burner and turn the damn stove off. Seriously, you could burn the house down. Shovel some onto your plate, put the rest in storage, and do what you will. I recommend whole grain wraps, sour cream, avocado, and leftover Taco Bell hot sauce.

Fun Fact: It’s super easy to cut your finger halfway off while slicing avocado.

Be sure to consume your leftovers within about 10 days or so, because after that it tends to grow green and grey hair. It may look tasty, but the last three or four times I just went ahead and ate it I got kind of sick. Thankfully I have decent insurance, so it wasn’t hard to meet my deductible once I got out of the ICU. Unfortunately it was during those six weeks that Sam Campbell stole As the State Turns and Linn-Benton Backwash from me. But that’s life.

Advanced Class
Before I leave you, I want to impart a bit of wisdom that I’ve learned over the last couple of months. The trick to good cooking isn’t to make good food, it’s to seem like you know how to. And the trick for that? Simple: Put something in your food that doesn’t belong there. Mangosteen corn dogs with dill sauce? Bada bing. Shove raisins in your pizza? Bada boom. Add cinnamon to the spice mixture regardless of what you’re making? Bada bing-dong, boom…bing. Dong. It’s like, what idiot would do any of that? A genius, that’s who.

Stay tuned for the next edition, which will come at some point in the future and be about something.

By Johnny Beaver