What’s for dinner? Uptown Down-Home Chili

And best of all, I didn’t cook it. All I had to do was teach someone how to dice an onion, and grate some cheese.

Thursdays begin Mr. Brooks’ “seven-on” workweek; he works seven consecutive 12-hour overnight shifts, then has the next seven straight days off. On work nights I usually try to get home by 6 p.m. so we can grab dinner somewhere at a leisurely pace, rather than gulp-and-run so he can be at work by 7:30.

For his entire week off, he’d been saying he was going to make this chili, which is his favorite version because it doesn’t rely on chili powder. (I suspect the large quantities of mushrooms don’t hurt, either.) Every day the printout sat on the counter, and while Optimist Sam wanted to believe that Mr. Brooks really was going to make it to the grocery store to buy everything, Pessimist Sam suspected he was just putting it off, hoping I would make it instead. The week came and went.

Tonight I pulled up to the house and parked in front, to make it easier to leave for dinner, and imagine my surprise to open the door to the smell of … mushrooms?

“I’m making the chili,” he said.

Sure enough, he was all the way at the final-simmer stage, so it was rather delightful not to have anything to do. Near the end he asked for help dicing the onion, so I showed him how to do it using a chef’s knife rather than the steak knife he was trying.  (I do it sort of like this, but without halving the onion at the beginning and always cutting from above until the final step.)

Cost of ingredients: Unfortunately, he made the mistake of just buying everything on the list — no checking to see if we had the ingredients, or a close-enough substitution, so he said it ended up costing about $40. He’s hoping to factor the cost-per-meal into the equation, since there are enough leftovers for three more portions.

Substitutions: None (see above).

As easy as they said? I don’t want to say “If Mr. Brooks can do it …” but, luckily, he said it himself.

How’d THAT go over? Tasty. Now I know what it was like all those times when he was on the receiving end of being served dinner at home. I could get used to it.  I could’ve used some crackers or something else on the side, though. I didn’t think about it at the time, but in retrospect, they would have made a solid addition.

Would I make it again? I won’t — as befitting my roommate’s modus operandi, I’ll wait for him to.

WHAT SAM WORE: 12-10-09
The sweater: Long-sleeved cotton button-neck sweater
from Armani Exchange.
The shirt: Long-sleeved cotton button-up by Burberry, from Last Chance.
The pants: Rebel-fit, Malcom-wash jeans by Joe’s Jeans,
from now-defunct Vivi’s Boutique in Chandler.
The shoes: Gel-Oberon sneakers by Asics, from Sports Authority.

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