Awesomely Good Chili!

For Christmas, while I was in first year university, my parents gave me a slow-cooker (Simpson Sears Crockery Cooker Model 400.65032), along with a cookbook (Crockery Cookery, by Paula Franklin).

Digression: The crockpot is still available on eBay for $69.95 (link). The cookbook is also available from in the States for $2.00 (link) including shipping. For those who want to buy Canadian, at, it is available here (link) for $334.77. Seriously!

I don’t recall my reaction at the time but it was likely lukewarm. I warmed to it and it is now, hands down, the best gift that I have ever received!

Because Chili! And in particular, the recipe on page 99 of Paula Franklin’s book (see below).

I have made this recipe hundreds of times (most recently yesterday, and before that, the day before). Multiplying that number by fourteen servings per batch results in an estimate of over 3000 servings. In this particular domain I don’t share easily, so at five servings per week I have had chili for lunch over the course of my adult life for twelve solid years! I’m well on the way to checking another item off my bucket list!

Note to self: Add a codicil to my will, requiring that chili be served at my wake.

The recipe (pdf link)  for those of you whose appetite I have whet . . .


Digression: Current academic research suggests that it was Prometheus’s theft of this recipe, not fire, that enraged the Greek Gods. 

Over the years I have modified the recipe slightly (asymptotically edging towards perfection):

  • I have replaced one pound of ground beef with one pound of stewing beef.
  • I have replace the three pounds of kidney beans with four (!) nineteen ounce cans of black beans.
  • I have doubled the cayenne.

The recipe is very forgiving and I don’t bother measuring the ingredients any more, except for cumin. Do NOT add more than one teaspoon of cumin!

Digression: I have more recipes in my repertoire than just chili. I believe that everyone should know how to make at least three dishes, chosen so that at least one of them is suitable for any social occasion that one might encounter. Mine are:

    1. Ribs (dry rub) (suitable for fingerfood venues: funerals, barbecues, school events).
    2. Cinnamon rolls (suitable for events with small children).
    3. Quinoa salad (suitable for neighbourhood dinners, regardless of formality).

What is Art?

I’ve never had a strong opinion about art. Sure in the back of my mind was the sneaking suspicion that W.C Fields was thinking about art critics when he said “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit” but I was content in my ignorance until recently, when I came across the work Ambulation by Sandrine Schaefer. I don’t know what she was trying to do, but it certainly wasn’t art. Which led me to think about art. Which in turn led me to this blog post. Continue reading What is Art?

Studies show . . .

When I was in grad school, any argument whose support included the phrase ‘Studies show …’ was immediately suspect. That phrase was a red flag, indicating either that the speaker was trying to pass off weak data as stronger than it actually was or he hadn’t done his research and was trying to throw a fast one by his audience. Continue reading Studies show . . .

Update: Darwinism in my Sideyard!

It’s been almost exactly a year since I posted an article about the Darwinist experiment in my sideyard (Darwinism in my Sideyard!). I had planted several different kinds of ground cover (Thyme, Violet, Sedum, and Lily-of-the-valley) to see which one would crowd out the others and achieve uncontested domination over the entire area. Continue reading Update: Darwinism in my Sideyard!