In preparation for the Great Gun Hunt in Wisconsin, an event that begins on Saturday morning and lasts for one week, the following things will occur:
1) Dogs will be kept inside or chained in yards to prevent accidental pot-shots. Ditto for children.
2) Women will call themselves "widows" and find solace in shopping malls and/or in the company of male strippers. (See this week's newspaper inserts for details...)
3) By Thanksgiving the carcasses of deer tied to the tops of cars and minivans or sticking out the back end of pick up trucks will only slightly outnumber Christmas trees strapped down in the same position.
4) All the butchers will work overtime to process deer and turkey orders.
5) No child will be left behind in our public schools this Friday. We might call it "an inservice day" or a "compensation day for parent/teacher conferences," but really? It is the day that men, and some women, as young as 12 head north to prepare "Deer Camp." We all know it's a State Holiday to Celebrate the Slaughter of the Deer Herd, but to collect our fair share of federal tax dollars for our public schools we use educational jargon to name it.
6) Radio stations will repeatedly play Da Yoopers singing the annoying 40 Point Buck song.
7) The state color will be bright orange instead of green and gold.
8) Mr. D will make chili.
The chili cook-off began last night. My husband thinks he is a great cook and prides himself on certain recipes that he feels he has "refined" (they usually involve liberal use of Velveeta, Bisquick, ground beef and salt). So yesterday he dropped off 3 shopping bags full of canned beans, tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste, peppers, and onions. I returned home with the 3 bachelors last night after church to discover that he had filled a 4 gallon pot with the aforementioned ingredients and now "the juices are simmering."
To his credit, he had taken the empty cans out to the recycling bin. The mess in my kitchen was minimal.
"Now," he explained to me, "it needs to sit overnight and cool down. Then tomorrow morning we heat it up again so the juices simmer." (Yes, he refers to "juices" quite often while cooking. Even when he makes scrambled eggs. Ick.)
"Then, we have to stir it every 10 minutes so the bottom doesn't burn because otherwise all the meat" (3 pounds of ground chuck, for those of you interested) "settles to the bottom."
He gestures to the ice cream buckets sitting on the counter top. "Then after you get it heated up to this" (lifts lid to demonstrate the simmering chili) "let it cool down again and then you can put it in these containers."
Me: "I have to do this?"
Mr. D: (shoots me a dirty look--my highly-evolved mind reading skills tell me he is thinking about a plane ticket purchased yesterday on Expedia in preparation to my trip to NYC) "Is there a reason you can't?"
Me: "No. No problem. Stir every 10 minutes until it simmers. I got it."
But really? Cook, cool and reheat? Is that necessary? I'm thinking no, but I owe this man so this morning there is chili reheating with timed stirring happening in my kitchen. But I'm definitely dumping it into buckets outside on the front lawn because my kitchen is scrubbed clean finally and I'm so over tomato sauce and "juices." And next year? Unless a trained chef tells me there is some benefit to this pointless exercise of reheating food before it's fully cooked? This is definitely not happening again.