|The Late Lamented LaLaCon Plutonium Chili Cookoff|
Since practically no one pre-reged for it this year, LaLaCon was postponed indefinitely.
(Ie, no secondary date set this year, ie, cancelled.)
Which means there will be no chili cook-off this year, and no ice cream social, and no banquet. You just don't realize how much you'll miss 'em until they're gone..... Oh, well.
So.... The subject at hand is cooking, and the context is chili.
On the subject of chili, then, I think we can all agree that it's kind of cheating to empty a can of Hormel or Stagg chili into a crock pot and present it as your own creation. (Which did happen once or twice over the years, as I recall.) But at what point does the use of premade food-grade substances cease to be cheating?
The first couple of times I won or placed in the LaLaCon PCC, it was a normal hot chili, but with unusual ingredients. Mandarin oranges one year, grapes and melon balls another. One year I went overboard and put in some of every kind of fruit I could get my hands on. (What resulted was less chili than chutney with meat.) But all of those chilis were made using packaged ingredients.
Your basic chili is made of tomatos, peppers, onions, garlic, spices, meat, beans, and corn flour. I put canned beans, canned meat, a few cups of corn flakes, and a jar of medium salsa into a crock pot, stirred briskly, simmered on low for 12 hours, and eureka! A pot of chili. Did I cheat by not carving up my own peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic (and fingers), but instead allowing the makers of La Victoria Salsa do that chore for me? You tell me. (Unless of course, you found one of the fingers, in which case, tell La Victoria.)
My chili ice cream, chili jello, and chili meat loaf recipes are included in Karl Lembke's fannish cookbook, which I believe is linked to somewhere else on this site. But those used packaged components as well (ie, Coffee Mate non-dairy creamer, Jello gelatin, etc.). I didn't make my own hot sauces or draw my own cream, or pulverize my own steer hooves, so I'm certain I'll never pass muster by haute cuisine chefs. But I did credit the makers of those preparations in my ingredients lists, so I'm fair certain I'm in no danger of having to give back the awards. But what do you think?
On another note, for future LaLaCons (assuming of course that there will be future LaLaCons) should we continue doing Chili Cookoffs? Or should we try some other kind of culinary challenge, and if so, what?
|Last Updated ( Friday, 11 July 2008 )|