WND – Chili Take II

April 3, 2008


I cleaned my fridge this weekend which was a more revolting endeavor than I should probably admit to in public. But, I’m reasonably sure I didn’t break the Prime Directive for first contact with any new life forms, and I don’t think I set back modern medicine by throwing away any useful mold cultures and now I have a pile of clean Tupperware and a disconcertingly empty fridge.

I always wonder how other people keep their fridges so empty. I go over to their houses and marvel at the orderliness and spaciousness of their fridges (some people look in medicine cabinets, I poke around bookshelves and fridges). My mother’s fridge is like this, but she cheats. Firstly, she only shops for fresh food a day or two in advance, and because she’s retired she actually has the time to do this. And secondly, and more importantly, she has a second fridge in the basement.

I try and keep my fridge pared down to the essentials. By and large I don’t keep leftovers because we don’t eat them. I don’t eat them because left to my own devices I would live on cereal and peanut butter sandwiches. I only cook for other people, and even reheating counts as cooking. My roommate says she doesn’t eat them because we don’t have a microwave*. I’m a trifle skeptical of this explanation since I don’t remember her reheating a lot of leftovers when we did have a microwave, but it’s been a while so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt. Usually if we end up with leftovers from Dinner I send them home with other people for lunches.

There are, however, certain things you can be sure you will always find in my fridge. There will always be butter. There will always be about five half empty jars of jam. There will always be heavy cream and buttermilk. There will always be at least one container of leftover Chinese food. We don’t get takeout Chinese that often, but it still seems to be a universal constant in our refrigerator. And, there will always be a jar of maraschino cherries for making Manhattans.

Then there is the flotsam and jetsam that just seems to accumulate and never quite gets thrown away – the end of a block of cream cheese, several carrots languishing in the bottom of the vegetable drawer, the ghostly paper shells of a season’s worth of onions, and a jumbled assortment pickles and olives.

I cleaned my fridge because I was feeling optimistic about the weather and wanted to do a little low impact Spring Cleaning (as opposed to high impact Spring Cleaning which might involve moving furniture and dusting). The fact that I then had enough room to store a pot of chili for two days until Dinner without having to resort to creative space management was just icing on the cake.

* I don’t have anything against microwaves, I just don’t have counter space for one right now.

Jen’s Father’s Chili


There are two kinds of cornbread. I like both of them, but some people get very territorial about which kind of cornbread is the right kind of cornbread. Mostly this breaks out along geographical lines. In the North you typically get a sweeter cornbread with a finer crumb. In the South you get a grittier cornbread made with a higher cornmeal to flour ratio.

I grew up eating and making a more Southern version of cornbread, but most of the people who come to Dinner like the Northern variety better. However, I made corn muffins last week to go with Dinner and in the interest of variety I made a more traditionally Southern kind of cornbread this week.

You can make this with either yellow or white stone ground cornmeal. Yellow cornmeal will give you a very intense corn flavor and coarse texture. White cornmeal splits the difference and will give you a finer crumb while still tasting more of corn than of flour.

Preheat oven to 425.

Sift together:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup corn meal
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar


Whisk together:
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3-4 Tbsp butter, melted

Butter a 9” can pan or pie dish. Place in the oven to heat for 5 minutes.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Allow to stand for about 2 minutes while your pan finishes heating in the oven.

Pour the batter into the hot pan (it should sizzle slightly when it hits the pan, this is what gives it a great crust on the bottom). Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the top is brown and the sides have pulled away from the edge of the pan. Cut into wedges.

If you have leftovers they are excellent toasted with butter and spread with jam.




  1. […] Recipe previously given:   Chili Take II […]

  2. […] Recipe previously given: Chili Take II […]

  3. […] Recipe previously given:  Chili Take II […]

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