Facebook is an amazing thing for bringing people together across time and space. Case in point, Anson has connected with many old Army buddies that he hasn't seen or heard from in almost 15 years. One of those connections was with Bryan, "The Fish," who went through the Army with Anson from the first day of basic training to the last day of service. They tell me it's very unusual for people to end up in the same platoon after basic training, so they have a special bond, forged in the the cold plains of Kansas and strengthened by many pitchers of beer.
The Fish and his wife, Susan, finally made it out here from Ohio to visit us in Huntington Beach this past week. In our conversations beforehand Anson found out that they, like us, are big fans of Cincinnati Chili, so we told them to bring their recipe and we'd have a cook off. You might remember I wrote about my Mom's recipe last year which I've been making for several years. I figured Bryan and Susan would put us to shame with their recipe from the birthplace of Cincinnati Chili. So I was surprised when they presented us with a can of Gold Star Chili ("The Flavor of Cincinnati"). Turns out, that's how many people in Ohio get their fix of this delicious, savory, Mediterranean-influenced chili that is served over spaghetti. And I can't say I blame them because it takes a bit of preparation, measuring out of 11 spices plus many other ingredients, and a day of simmering for the final pay off. Seems like simply opening a can might be a better choice sometimes. Why not let the pros do it?
Susan showed us the way to really use this chili properly--on "Cheese Coneys," which are little hot dogs which you cover with chili, cheese, mustard and onions. We also did the same with tortillas chips and that was delicious.
So when I asked Anson what he wanted to have for dinner on Sunday while we all watched the Cincinatti Bengals play the Dallas Cowboys he immediately responded, "Cincinatti Chili." Apparently his pump had been primed and he was ready for more. I was excited to make my Mom's version for these native Ohioans and proud to get a passing grade from them--they liked it! We had it Four-Way: over spaghetti with cheese and onions.
After years and miles apart, Anson and Bryan reminisced about the old days, this time in sunny Southern California, not the frigid landscape of Fort Riley. But one thing was the same --plenty of beer, and that's what really matters.