We’re hunkerin’ down, so to speak. All week long we’ve been gearing up for Ike. Our first clue Ike meant business came when the University of Texas Athletics Department rescheduled the football game. People, you don’t mess with UT football. Only Mother Nature herself could get away with calling that audible. Then the school district issued early release on Friday to ease traffic and free up space to shelter our fellow Texans evacuating from Galveston, Houston and coastal communities. Our church sent out a mass email with tips on ways to prepare for power outages, high winds, and severe flooding. Local news organizations gave us special numbers to call for downed power lines, directions to shelters in need of volunteers and resources that would help us find loved ones who might go missing in Ike’s wrath. We’ve had around-the-clock coverage. We were prepared.
As it stands now, 12 hours after Ike’s surge, Austin won’t get a drop of rain. The mighty hurricane’s path shifted to the east and the capital city was spared the tropical force storm and winds it expected. While the sky is calm in Central Texas, my mood is not. It just doesn’t feel right to take the kids to the pool, schedule a play date or go out for dinner. Too many people, too close to home are still in harms way. 4 million people are without electricity in the greater Houston area. The majority of Galveston Island is still under water and its evacuated residents have no idea what’s left of their homes, their businesses, their schools, their way of life. It’s too soon to know what the recovery efforts will discover.
So we are hunkerin’ down. Sticking to the plan we were prepared to follow. I started a big ol pot of chili earlier today. It’s a little early in the season and a tad hot for chili around here, but it somehow seemed fitting. The ultimate comfort food in our great state. I tried a recipe from Mom’s BFF. Its scribbled in illegibile handwriting and only lists the ingredients — two of which I couldn’t make out. But, I’ve made my share of chili so a recipe isn’t really necessary. However, I was particularly intrigued with the last ingredient of this version – a Hershey’s Bar.
I’ve decoded the recipe and filled in the gaps where necessary. Here’s what I’m calling Chili Ike:
3 lbs ground chuck
2 cans Rotel tomatoes
3 T chili powder
3 T cumin
1 T paprikia
1 white onion, chopped
2 cans water
1 Hershey’s chocolate bar
Brown the beef in a large pot. Drain off fat. Add onions and continue to brown. Add Rotel (do not drain). Add spices. Add two cans full of water. Stir, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Break up Hershey’s chocolate bar. Eat one square of chocolate to make sure it tastes ok. Eat another just to be sure. Add the rest of the Hershey’s chocolate cubes to the pot and stir until it dissolves.
Serve chili with chopped onions, jalapenos and beer. Hurricane or not, we’re hunkerin’ down. After this kind of meal you have no other choice.