And from spending a good portion of my life as a bachelor I can attest that there's some truth in that.
But eating out Every Single Night can be expensive just as eating Stouffers frozen dinners can be repetitive. And sometimes it might even be a result of curiosity but once in a while there comes a time when men might actually stumble into the kitchen and Make Something.
Sometimes it's just a sandwich. Other times it might just be that bowl of cereal. More often than not it's merely a colossal mess ( I've had room-mates who were good at this) but sometimes men might get the foolish notion that Hey How Hard Can It Be and attempt to actually cook something.
In some ways chili is like Jerry Seinfelds bowl of cereal; it's not really that hard to fix; the complications set in when men start trying to improve on it. And in some ways it is the ultimate bachelor food. It has a limited number of ingredients, tastes like barbeque except you fix it inside the house and depending on how it's fixed it would be a suitable thing for the guy on ManVsFood to eat.
Here in Texas Chili Cook-offs used to be a popular social event until they degenerated into drunken riots. Like barbecue everyone thinks they are an expert on it, everyone thinks everyone else does it WRONG and the BeansVsNoBeans argument is older than I am.
Me? I stick to the basics and lets start with the ingredients. The recipe on the Wick Fowlers box calls for two pounds of ground meat; I always buy a slightly larger portion but we'll get back to that later. And despite chili having a reputation as a Meat Dish I put a lot of actual vegetables in mine. I like to use a good fresh onion and a large bell pepper, preferably a red, orange or yellow one. Green peppers can be used but aren't quite as pretty. And while this can get you lynched in Texas I like red kidney beans in my chili. Recipes abound but I generally use either Wick Fowlers Chili Kits or the ones made by Carroll Shelby; both of them taste just fine to me. You'll also need a 8oz can of tomato sauce.
While the meat browns in the skillet, I chop up a large bell pepper into tiny pieces. Theoretically this could be done with the electric chopper but I usually just do it by hand. Once the meat is brown I drain the grease into a steel can over the sink which is easier to do in theory than in real life with a heavy skillet and two pounds of hot ground beef. And this is why I always use slightly more than two pounds; inevitably some of the beef falls into the sink; then I pour what I hope is still two pounds into the crock pot and add the chopped bell pepper, a can of strained and washed red kidney beans (this is optional if you don't like beans in your chili) and the spices from the Wick Fowler box (except for the masa and the red pepper) Then I add the 8oz can of tomato sauce and two 8oz cans of water, turn the crockpot on “high” for an hour and turn it down to “low” and hour later.
There is no real time limit when making chili in a crockpot; generally after about four hours the smell drives me nuts and I have to break down and dish some out. I add the masa mixed with about 8oz of hot water about 30 minutes before serving. When I'm ready for it finally I put about a cup of corn chips in a bowl, then put either sliced or grated cheese on top of them and pour the chili over that. One can also add some chopped onion if preferred.
So there you have it; Mr Moms chili. No big secrets involved here; just Texas style chili the way I like it. Now if I could only convince Mrs Mom that chili is supposed to be hot...
Mom's Last Word
If you don't have the chili spice kit in your area you can make your own using the recipe here. Homemade 2 Alarm Chili Kit Now you too can cook like Mr Mom ;)