This fiery column was published in 2009 and since the weather has cooled down it might be considered “chili cooking” time.
Frank says,“Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in… I was assured by the other two judges (Native New Mexicans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.”
Here are the scorecard notes from the event:
Chili # 1 – Mike’s Maniac Monster Chili
Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato.
Judge # 2 — Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) — Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These New Mexicans are crazy.
Chili # 2 – El Rancho’s Afterburner Chili
Judge # 1 — Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.
Judge # 2 — Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Judge # 3 — Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.
Chili # 3 – Alfredo’s Famous Burn Down The Barn Chili
Judge # 1 — Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.
Judge # 2 — A bit salty, good use of peppers.
Judge # 3 — Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting red-faced from all of the beer.
Chili # 4 – Bubba’s Black Chili
Judge # 1 — Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.
Judge # 2 — Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.
Judge # 3 — I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills.
Chili # 5 – Lisa’s Legal Lip Remover
Judge # 1 — Meaty, strong chili. Jalapeno peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 — Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the jalapeno peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I passed gas, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Chili # 6 – Varga’s Very Vegetarian Variety
Judge # 1 — Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.
Judge # 2 — The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.
Judge # 3 — My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I had an accident on myself and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except that Sally. Can’t feel my lips anymore.
Chili # 7 – Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili
Judge # 1 — A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge # 2 — Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment **I should take note that I am worried about Judge # 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.
Judge # 3 — You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing. It’s too painful. I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.
Chili # 8 – Big Tom’s Toenail Curling Chili
Judge # 1 — The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.
Judge # 2 — This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge # 3 passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor fella, wonder how he’d have reacted to really hot chili?
Judge # 3 — No report.