Charity Chili

Take it from someone who uses recipes like a cane as she limps her way through the kitchen: you don’t need a recipe to make chili. It’s just a mishmosh of ingredients thrown into a pot and cooked down until the feeling’s right.

It’s meant to be flexible and unfussy. Sometimes I brown some beef, sometimes I pour in a little beer. Lately I’ve been adding a can of pumpkin and loving it.

Tonight’s unscripted chili was a collaborative effort, pulled together by loved ones who unknowingly donated to this gigantic pot of food on my stove. Blame it on New York rent prices, blame it on the shitty economy, blame it on the fact that I have an English degree and made the silly decision to work at a non-profit and, you know, help people — no matter how you look at it, at best, cash is tight right now, and there’s nothing like a big bowl of chili to nourish me from the inside out.

My “recipe”:

-Peppers, tomatoes, and beer from a friend who took pity on my desolate fridge, the interior of which could be used as a stunt double in Ghostbusters.

-Cannellini beans from my sister.

-Hot sauce, a gift from my last birthday. I used half the bottle.

-An onion and garlic I borrowed from the Roommate. When you’re roommates, it’s borrowing.

-Canned pumpkin, purchased by the Roommate after Trader Joe’s inexplicably didn’t have any. (Way to let me down, TJ’s. I’ll just take my very cheap wine and be on my way, thankyouverymuch.)

-Packets of Sazon seasoning that originally belonged to an ex-boyfriend. I’m not sure how they ended up in my kitchen. Consider it alimony.

-A can of tomato sauce I stole from my mother the last time I was upstate. When I ‘fessed up, she said, in typical Mom fashion, “Oh, honey, I’m happy you took it! I was thinking that we had too much tomato sauce in the pantry anyway.”

Directions: while wearing yoga pants and an old sweatshirt, mix all ingredients together on stove top until they resemble chili. Serve over an old potato you found in the street. Recession, what now?

******

Footnote: I clearly need professional aid when decanting chili in freezer-friendly Tupperware containers, because the mess I made makes it look like I just murdered a Chihuahua. Which I would never do, because I am a dog-lover. Even of those stupid small ones. Mostly.

The Best Thing I Heard on the Subway Today

One guy to another guy: “You gotta make sure you make time for your girl during the week because if you don’t, come the weekend, she won’t be your girl no more.”

Preach it.

Things I lost in the move

My favorite necklace. It’s from my aunt and it’s two disks with my initials on a delicate silver chain. I may or may not have had a nightmare about it the other night in which my sister tried to replace it with this gaudy charm necklace thing and it was so wrong.

My dignity. Embarrassingly, I got pulled over for driving down the Taconic Parkway in my big ol’ Budget truck. I really thought the officer would take one look at this moron driving a moving van by herself and have pity. Alas I could not save myself from a ticket or his judgment.

Jack’s birthday present. It was this indestructible red rubber ball that holds little bits food. It keeps him occupied for hours so I can actually unpack without a wet dog nose investigating every damn box.

A $1 bag of dried black beans. I was really looking forward to a cheap meal.

Half of my cereal bowls.

Rags. You know, for cleaning a disgusting apartment that was apparently inhabited by monkeys before The Roommate and I moved in.

My iPod charger. How’s that for annoying?

One slipper. How is that for REALLY annoying?

Not lost, but not quite right:

My knee, which has been suspiciously swollen for days since we moved into our fifth floor walk up. I cannot bend it all the way back to stretch my quad. AARP will be calling me any day now.

My underwear (almost!). I paid the laundromat a huge visit the day before moving and washed every pair of my underwear besides the ones on my bum on that day. I put them all in one clean bag and then promptly lost that bag for a spell. It was incredibly traumatizing. Next time I will set some aside in a sort of panty insurance policy.

The little handle of my Anthropologie salt and pepper shaker set. It used to be you could carry them from counter to table and impress your friends with your $55 salt and pepper shakers. Now I have to have to hold them in my hands like a commoner. Anthropologie would be mortified.

And a happy Ash Wednesday to you, sir

The following is a text from my sister who was at her restaurant job this afternoon.

Linnea: We’re not serving roast beef sandwiches because it’s Ash Wednesday. First of all, WOW, this is an Italian establishment. Second, this goes against my firm belief in the separation of Church and Plate.

Linnea: I’ve been hanging onto that one for about an hour and a half.

Math

What do you get when you add:

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1 soon-to-expire box of unsweetened baking chocolate

PLUS

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the last 4 eggs in the carton?

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Another reason to put off those New Years resolutions.

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