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A Texas Chili Contest
by Bruce Cameron

Recently I was honored to be selected as an outstanding celebrity in my new community, to be a judge at the annual chili cook-off because no one else wanted to do it. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges that the chili would not be that spicy, and besides, they told me that I could have free beer during the tasting, to help cleanse the palate, so I accepted this as being one of those burdens you must endure when you move to a new town. Here is the score cards from the event:

Chili #1 Mike’s Maniac Mobster Monster Chili
Judge One: A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick
Judge Two: Nice, smooth tomato flavor, Very mild.
Me: Holy smokes, what is this stuff? You could remove dry paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that was the worst one. These people are crazy.

Chili #2 : Authur’s Afterburner Chili
Judge One: Smokey (barbecue?) with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang.
Judge Two: Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.
Me: Keep this out of reach of Children! I’m not sure what I am supposed to taste beside pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. Shoved my way to the front of the beer line. The barmaid looks like a professional wrestler after a bad night. She was so irritated by my gagging sounds that the snake tattoo under her eye started to twitch. She has arms like Popeye and a face like Winston Churchill. I will NOT pick a fight with her.

Chili #3: Fred’s Famous Burn Down The Barn Chili:
Judge One: Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick. Needs more beans.
Judge Two: A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers.
Me: This has got to be a joke! Call the EPA I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I’ve been sneezing Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now and got out of my way so I could make it to the beer wagon. Barmaid pounded me on the back and now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. She said her friends call her “Sally”. Probably behind her back they call her “Forklift”.

Chili #4: Bubba’s Black Magic
Judge One: Black bean Chili with almost no spice.
Judge Two: Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild food. Not much of a chili.
Me: I felt something scraping across my tongue but was unable to taste it. Sally was standing behind me with fresh refills so I would not have to dash over to see her. When she winked at me her snake sort of coiled and uncoiled… it’s kinda cute.

Chili #5: Linda’s Legal Lip Remover
Judge One: Meaty, strong Chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge Two: Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit, the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Me: My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I belched and four people in front of me need paramedics. The contestant seemed hurt when I told her that her chili gave me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue by pouring beer directly on it from a pitcher. It sort of irritates me that one of the other judges asked me to stop screaming.

Chili #6: Vera’s Verity Vegetarian Variety
Judge One: Thin but bold vegetarian Variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers.
Judge Two: The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onion, and garlic.
Me: My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseoous flames. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. I asked if she wanted to go dancing later.

Chili #7: Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili
Judge One: A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.
Judge Two: Ho Hum. Tastes as if the chef threw in canned chili peppers at the last moment.
Me: You could put a hand grenade in my mouth and then pull the pin and I wouldn’t feel it. I’ve lost sight in one eye and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My clothes are covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth at some point. Go Sally, save yourself before it is too late. Call the x-files people and tell them I’ve found a super nova on my tongue.

Chili #8: Helen’s Mount Saint Chili
Judge One: This final entry is good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot.
Judge Two: A perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili, safe for all, not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 fell and pulled the chili pot onto of himself.

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This page was last updated October 1, 1997.
It was moved June 3, 2006