I stashed the vial into the hidden pocket of my ratty green shorts. A plastic cylinder with a screw cap closure, the tube was unassuming- in a space-age sort of way. With respect to the small vial and its tiny residents, I am hulking, formidable, impossibly huge. Given the absurd juxtaposition, it is difficult to fathom this minuscule entity having a power over me. It has. I kept it close to me, stashed away, next to my warm skin for an entire day. Then, as daylight faded and the incomprehensible music chattered and weaved, it became a warm drip on my leg.
Spaghetti night means two things. First, everyone will eat without fuss. Not only will this simple pasta make the chef (err, me) unassailable and impervious to the harsh judgment of the more-fickle and less-civil members of the Involuntary Taste Panel, it will not take long to make. I plan to invest the newly-finessed free time wisely. “Wisely” roughly translates to “brewing beer”. (Hence the yeast in my pocket, a special strain of Saccharomyces, just for brewing). The second relevant thing about spaghetti night- it doesn’t break the bank. One pound of spaghetti noodles goes for $0.69 and a can of spaghetti sauce sets us back $0.89. The chili fixings are priceless and as such you can’t put a figure on their value. We were out of meatballs, consequently we’ll let them eat steak.
½ lb beef steak, cubed
1 ½ C store-bought Spaghetti sauce
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
½ C carrots, diced
1 T chili powder
1 T El Pato Brand jalapeno salsa
- Mix ingredients in a pot and simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve over spaghetti noodles.
All you need to know about this chili can be supplied with a single anecdote. Pre, an ardent proponent of cheap and unadulterated spaghetti sauce, was reluctant to dive in to the chili sauce. It took some convincing (nay, it took some very credible threats of bodily harm) to convince him to give my steak concoction a try. As he did, he cocked his head slowly and his eyes narrowed, but only enough to be barely perceivable. He pursed his lips as if to speak but paused. Stopping short of verbalizing, he proceeded to fix a narrow-eyed gaze upon me as he cocked his head further. For most children, this manner of gesticulation would roughly indicate something on the order of pleasant surprise. Not Pre. For Pre, this little pantomime CLEARLY conveyed this message: “You crazy old man. You took my favorite meal and made it in to chili. As much as I’d love to resent this hair-brained contrivance sitting in the bowl before me, I can’t. You surprise me. Now, leave the room so that I may finish my meal beyond the reach of your watchful eye.”
Time to brew with the yeast that I modified and spilled in my shorts. (Listen, I promise that for the beer I will only use the store bought yeast . I’ll change my shorts too, maybe.)