Monday, March 11, 2013

LAB's Dubious Distinction (AKA: Turkey is a Vegetable)

Jeff's been asking me for months to attend meetings with his car club.  And by "car club" I mean a group of men between 60-90 years old who meet at the Golden Corral one Thursday a month to talk about Fords for two hours. I've been successfully resisting attending these meetings for as long as he's been inviting me. For obvious reasons. 
 
Last weekend, however, Jeff asked me to attend a car show / chili cook off with the club at a local state park.  It sounded the least horrifying of the recent invitations and I figured I'd give it a try.  It was his birthday weekend and the weather was supposed to be spectacular, so I really didn't have anything to lose.  It certainly beat staying home and cleaning the house.

I decided I'd even enter a pot of chili in the cook off, since the invitation mentioned that there were 5 awards and I really liked my odds of winning.  Surely there wouldn't be too many entries!

I should note that I'm not a fan of chili, and Jeff really hates it, so my entire chili-making experience can be summed up by the 2 times I made turkey chili using an online recipe on weekends when Jeff was out of town.  Both times turned out OK.  Not spectacular, but I'll try any recipe a couple of times just to see how it turns out.  I figured I'd use the same recipe for my entry in the cook off.  What did I have to lose?

Event day came, and before we left the house we decided to give the chili a quick taste to see if it needed anything.

Jeff:  It tastes like nothing.  Oh, wait.  HOLY SHIT THAT'S HOT!
LAB: Good hot or bad hot?
Jeff:  How can it taste like nothing and then burn my mouth?
LAB: Good burn or bad burn?
Jeff:   Seriously? I'd be very interested to hear what you think constitutes a good burn.
LAB:  I had to put in a lot of chili powder or else it would just be turkey soup.
Jeff:  We're gonna be late.  Just put in another can of tomato soup.  And some corn. And some water.  And whatever else you can think of and let's get on the road.

This is what it looked like at the end of the day. I'm assuming no one wants the recipe.



I added a few more ingredients and we headed out.  I was a little concerned that it looked like someone had already eaten it once, but it was too late to back down.

We arrived at the event and I noticed four other crock pots of chili on the counter.  W00T!  Here comes lucky #5 people.  Now give me my trophy, bitches!

As the day progressed, more chilis showed up.  There were 6...then 7...then 8...and finally 9 chilis entered.  CRAP!  The other chilis all appeared to be beef-based, so at least mine was different.   Then I noticed that the other crock pots looked like a tour through the history of slow cookers.  I swear some of them must invented by Ben Franklin shortly after his lightning experiment.  I had the sinking feeling that some of the entrants had been making chili for longer than I'd been alive.  My odds of scoring a trophy were rapidly declining.

We did our part and ate some of my shitty chili. After covering it in cheese and a massive amount of sour cream and pretending like we weren't gagging.  Chili duty handled, Jeff and I headed out to enjoy the car show.  Here's a sample of the notable entries:

That's not a Ford.


Also not a Ford.  And seriously???

There were some awesome old Ford cars & trucks there and the club members, while considerably older than us, were really fun.  Sorry, no pics of the cool cars.  I only photograph the ridiculous.  As the day progressed, I became more & more depressed that my shitty chili was going to be a loser.  I seriously thought that there would be so few entries that I'd have to win something.  And I freaking hate losing.  Jeff tried to cheer me up by promising to buy me a Blizzard at Dairy Queen on the way home.  What am I, 6 years old?  I don't handle disappointment well and it certainly didn't help that Jeff was astonished that I had ever considered that I might get a trophy.

I kept a running text commentary of the event with my brother Scott all day, and eventually he decided it was too ridiculous to miss...so he showed up.  I'm pretty sure he was looking forward to the sterling opportunity of watching me fail.  Plus, he wanted to score some free lunch.  Just not my chili.

Things started to wrap up and we headed into the picnic shelter for the awards.  Hottest chili (not me), 3rd place (not me), 2nd place (not me), 1st place (obviously not me) and then there was one trophy left.  Jeff and Scott were laughing their asses off at me at this point because I was genuinely sad that I got nada.  And the crock pot was going to be a bitch to clean.

The judge announced the final award - Best Vegetarian Chili.  Shit.  Clearly not me, and I would have made a damn veggie chili had I known it was a category.  Those odds would ROCK!  Then the judge said something unexpected: "Since there were no vegetarian entries, I picked the chili that was the closest to vegetarian.  The award goes to....LEIGH ANNE."  I raised my arms in victory and jumped up to get my award, but not before I heard the following things from Jeff & Scott:

"Seriously?"
"Shit.  They'll be no living with her now."
"That did not just happen."
"This was way more fun when she was depressed."

BOOM, people:
 
Screw you guys, turkey is a vegetable.

I'm only going to say this once: I don't give a damn if I won on a technicality, the only thing that matters is that I won.  Do you have a chili cook off trophy?  Because I do.  Nobody is going to diminish my victory (by lack of qualified entrants).  W00TY W00T W00T W00T!!  I'm a winner! The ridiculous aspect of this non-victory is what makes it the most LAB-like win in the history of LAB victories.   I may have Forrest Gumped my way into victory, but it's a victory nonetheless.

Trophy in hand and victory grin firmly in place, we headed to our cars.  People were stopping me to say congratulations. Some of them almost seemed sincere. Scott was shouting "STOP ENABLING HER" at them.  Apparently he was a little too invested in my history of loser-dom to fully appreciate the thrill of my victory.  We decided that a victory tour of Dairy Queen was in order.

Parking Lot Victory Dance.
Nothing says VICTORY like hoisting your trophy in front of the Dairy Queen restrooms.
Victory Blizzard!

Jeff couldn't look at me without laughing for the rest of the day.  When we got home, he said "At least I'll never get bored being married to you."  I still didn't feel like he truly appreciated my accomplishment, so I waited until he went to bed to do to this:

It may not be the Stanley Cup, but it works if you use a straw