I cook at lot in the fall. Something about that first chill in the air that makes me want to get all Ma Ingalls and make big pots of rib-sticking food, much of which I freeze for the winter months. Of course Ma Ingalls didn’t have a freezer but you take my point.
So. I decided to make chili. And also a squash-apple-curry soup. Because even though it’s 85F and sunny outside, it’s November, dammit, and in November, a person makes soup. Like Maurice Sendak said, “In November’s gusty gale, I will flop my flippy tail and spout hot soup – I’ll be a whale! Spouting once, spouting twice, spouting chicken soup with rice!”
We invited some friends to dinner as a cooking incentive; I did the walk of shame through the pork room at the grocery store, bought vegetables (I put vegetables in my chili), entered the dark warren of my kitchen, and set to chopping. Maybe it’s a good thing that there aren’t any windows in my kitchen: it makes it easier to feel fall-ish. Of course, when I emerged from the kitchen, I’d stand in the hall blinking for a few seconds at the brilliant sunshine streaming in the windows.
Into my chili went: chorizo from Spain, carrots from Jordan, eggplant from Iran, peppers from Holland, kidney beans from the French chain store Carrefour, canned tomatoes from Waitrose in the UK. The chili powder – well, the chilly powder – and other spices came from the UAE.
On top of each bowl of chili went a blob of labneh (like a cross between sour cream and yogurt, and made locally); a sprinkle of grated Kraft cheddar; and a handful of chopped cilantro from Abu Dhabi. (And no I didn’t have any cheddar cheese on my chili; I’m on day two of being cheese-free, and while life no longer seems worth living, at least I’ve stuck to my pact for two entire days.)
A global chili, that’s what I made. A metaphor in a pot, a cosmopolitan stew.
Plus? It was delicious. Fall is definitely in the air.