Sunday, November 14, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

18.9L=20 Quarts 

It's been a while since Jim and I have bulk cooked. Bulk cooking involves making up a giant batch of a one-dish meal that freezes well. The idea is that you end up with your own version of those TV dinners that you can buy in the freezer aisle of your local grocer's. If the dish is my idea, it usually ends up becoming some kind of hearty chowder, quiche, wraps, fried rice or mac'n'cheese. Maybe a stew, but I don't like the way stews freeze. When it's Jim's idea, it's always Chili. For the uninitiated who are wondering why the hell we would put our efforts into making bulk amounts of chili sauce, here, Chili refers to a tomato based dish with copious amounts of beef, beans, corn, mushrooms and Mexican spices (most notably, mexican ground chillies).

Deciding that if we were going to make chili that were going to make alot of it (the last time we made chili in our largest pot, Jim only got about two bowls of the sutff, after I brought some to lunch daily and he gave some away to his parents) so we went to Superstore to buy a stock pot. I know that stock pots are really meant jsut for making soup stock. They are usually made of brushed stainless steel (and are therefore non-reactive) that is of uniform thickness throughout the base and the sides. It's also usually really thin, so that the heat is conducted right up from the element into the food. When you're making stock, that's not a problem, because convection takes care of everything for you. When you're cooking something thicker, like chili, it means constant stirring to distribute the heat. Even with constant stirring, the bottom did get a little burnt and we had to pour the chili into our roasting pan (big enough for a 20lb turkey, in case you were wondering) and our next biggest pot (the one that we made chili in the last time). Both vessels were filled to the brim.

Ladies and Gentlemen, yesterday, Jim and I made about 18L (maybe more) of chili. It involved 12lbs (5+kg) of ground and stew beef, 2-3L of crushed and diced canned tomatoes, 6 cans of kidney, black and pinto beans, 6 heads of garlic, 1 kg of onions, three capsicums (2 green, 1 red) and about a pound of mushrooms. For the spices, we used three packets of ground mexican chili (secret combination) and more chipotle than you can shake a stick at. Oh and all the cumin in my spice rack. One last secret ingredient. It's the one thing that will help release all the flavour elements when cooking with tomatoes. Any guesses?

Just so you know, Jim makes DAMN GOOD chili.

So far our entire vegetable crisper is filled literally to the brim with 24 Ziploc containers (the 1¾ cup size, if anyone's keeping track). There's a lone container that was unable to fit in the crisper on one of the shelves. In addition there's my biggest mixing bowl filled ¾ of the way up covered in plastic wrap because we didn't buy enough Ziploc containers to put all the stuff in. That's on today's todo list.

Can you visualize this yet? In case you're still having trouble, the dimensions of the pot are: height-2ft, diameter-112ft. We filled it to about 5inches from the brim (1ft=12in). We stirred it with a 212ft wooden spoon. Constantly (i.e. for about two hours).

Mmmm enough chili to last through any war G.W.Bush is ready to engage in.

On a completely separate note, I have a new theory. I believe that my IQ is really quite average despite the fact that I'm a card-carrying member of Mensa. You see, if my IQ is really higher than average (apparently I'm in the 99th percentile), then it should be easier for me than it is for the average person to grasp onto various concepts. Concepts such as context-free phrase structure rules, sentence trees, syntax in general. With less effort than the average person, I should be able to get better marks in class.

Yet that's not true. If it were, I doubt I would be experiencing the level of apathy that I expressed in my previous post. So here's why I think I got accepted into Mensa. I read really quickly. Reading quickly (and I read really freakishly fast) means that I have more time to think about the question. This means that I have a natural advantage on timed tests. Since admission to Mensa was based on a timed test, my freaskishly fast reading gave me ample time to figure out answers to the questions. So depressingly enough, maybe I'm not that smart.

I was thinking this only because when Jim and I watch Jeopardy, I always get the answers first. Jim then points out that the only reason I managed to give the answer first is because I can read the question in less time than it takes Trebek to read three words of it. So I have the rest of the question to think about the answer. Sometimes I even answer before he's done reading. The thing is that Jim would have arrived at the same answer, given the same amount of time that I had to think about it. We discovered this the time when there was a blind contestant on Jeopardy. What happened then was that the written version of the question was not provided until Trebek had finished first reading the question out loud. Jim and I answered at the same time. Jim answered several questions faster.

I sure hope no one from Mensa is reading this right now. *shifty look*

posted by Joie! at 9:44 a.m.


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