Gardening Magazine

The Day Has Arrived

By John Markowski @jmarkowski0
This momentous day arrives around this time every year dating back to 1999.

It holds a special place in my heart and will continue to do so for years to come.

I take special precautions the morning of this event to ensure I can enjoy it to the max. 

The day packs such a wallop that by the time I fall into bed at night, I cannot move.

And this day often spills into the following day prolonging the festivities.
Can you guess the occasion? Are you waiting with bated breath? Well, here it is:
It is the first day of the year that ... I get to enjoy ... through the artistry of my wife ... the most complex and deeply satisfying ... wait for it ... wait for it ... FIRST F'N CHILI.
Surprised? Well let me tell you, this is a big friggin deal. I kid you not. And let me start with the back story.
My wife first dabbled in making chili back in 1999, before children, when we lived in our first house post wedding. She had never attempted to make it before and was sort of following a recipe she found on the internet. That first iteration was good, but nowhere near where it is today. Over the years, she experimented with adding to the original version until it reached perfection back in 2003. From that day forward, it was dubbed "Catherine Street" chili, named after the street we lived on.
Each and every year I am told we cannot dine on this chili until the weather cools down in early fall. I argue we should have it year round, but I get nowhere with the boss. I have to admit, I get it. It would lose some of its luster if we had it in the dinner rotation. So I stay patient and wait.
This chili has been served on various occasions including birthday parties, Christmas and New Year's Eve, and everyone went nuts eating it.      
I honestly can't tell you all of the ingredients in the chili, but can confirm it includes: chipotles, cinnamon, chocolate, beer, tomato paste, kidney beans, garlic, onions and Frank's Red Hot sauce. My wife makes it by "feel" rather than exact quantities and each time it blows me away.
I mentioned before that I have specific preparations the day of the first chili and it is no exaggeration. Here they are in chronological order:
  1. Extra long and hard morning run to remove guilt from the equation
  2. Only yogurt for breakfast as it's all about clean eating early that day
  3. A light, sensible lunch to make room for stuffing my face later on
  4. Plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration
  5. Loose, comfortable clothing to allow for the bulging of the stomach
So now back to today.
This year, there was an added bonus. My wife made the chili last night to allow it to do its thing in the refrigerator for twenty four hours. The more it sits, the more complex and flavorful it gets. It's simple science.
Around 5:44 PM or so, I placed the pot on the stove and began to shake a bit watching it heat up. The day was really here. Here's a quick glimpse of what I was witnessing:                        

You're fired up too, right? I'll invite you all over soon enough, don't you worry.
The next step was to locate the beverage to accompany the feast. Check:
The day has arrived
Now we get to a bit of controversy. My wife loves pouring her chili over corn bread. I have to keep it real and cannot allow that corn bread to take up any real estate in my stomach. I love the hell out of corn bread, but I have to stick to my guns and say "no":  
The day has arrived
When it's warmed up and ready to be devoured, I take my seat at the table, ignore everyone, and dive the hell in:
The day has arrived
I take it so seriously, that I didn't realize that my wife snuck the camera to the table and snapped a pic of me about to take my first bite:
The day has arrived
Do you see the concentration and excitement?
As I write this, I almost physically cannot move other than my two fingers typing away. And I love it. It is part of the process and a necessary evil.
I will be working from home tomorrow and can you guess what will be for lunch, say around 10:45 AM? You know it. The gift that keeps on giving.
Oh yeah, I love that woman.

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