October 28, 2011

February 6, 2011 (“Soup”er Bowl Sunday, in our case) dawned to spicy vapors ascending from ten chili cauldrons in preparation for the Marion United Methodist Church (Madisonville District) IRON (Pot) CHEF Chili Cook-off. Ten contestants from the Greater Metropolitan Area of Marion, Ky. were about to go “spoon-to-spoon” as they vied for the trophy and the privilege of selecting the charity to which the prize money would be donated.

Weeks before, however, smack-talk had crowded cyberspace as contestants bantered about their entries. Said the first, “I heartily accept the challenge...I shall bring a pot of [my] world infamous chili. I am already deliberating on which charitable cause will receive the gains of my First Place winnings (I count my chickens before they hatch)…Don’t let my early entry intimidate any others, because it should still be a spirited contest for second place.”

In response, another replied, “I … hereby enter my own chili recipe into the competition. I am surprised at ___, being an attorney by profession, counting his chili beans before they are cooked ... he is certainly aware that juries are fickle in their decisions. Now that two gloves have been thrown down, who else will rise to the occasion?"

Still a third chimed in, “I have accepted the challenge as well. No smack—just meat and beans from this side.”

Then, a judge wanted to know what kind of rules there were for the entrants, and signed his/her note: “I almost pity the panel of judges, but if chosen, I feel I am up to the task. Signed, Joe/Josephine ‘Money Talks’ Smith” (names changed to protect the guilty). So even as ten pots simmered, the congregation was in a swivet over who might win the coveted trophy.

The judging panel was seated separately with their ten demitasses of chili. Lemon sherbet was provided to cleanse the palate between each tasting. When all was eaten and done, the tallies revealed that Chris Evans was #1, to be declared the Tonsil Torcher, Dr. John Newcom was the Adenoid Arsonist at #2, and Alan Stout, at #3, was the Larynx Lambaster. Mr. Evans selected the Methodist Children’s Homes to receive the prize money of $513.86.

Surreptitious surveys of the world’s spice and pepper markets are happening even as you read this, in preparation for the 2012 2nd Annual IRON (Pot) CHEF Chili Cook-Off. Who will get the prize money next year?