By Matt Benoit
The fragrant aroma of chili wafted prominently down the hallway from Syre 108 last Wednesday, Feb. 4. It enticed many, including myself, to get heartburn (or, perhaps, worse) for a good cause. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I apologize for that last bit.
This event, of course, was Whatcom’s second Annual Combined Fund Drive Chili Cook-Off Challenge, with donations from the event going to several charities for Haiti earthquake relief. All told, there were 18 chilis to be tasted, and, being such a chili fanatic, I tasted all of them. Then I threw up.
No, actually, I’m only joking, although I did briefly kind of feel like I was going to die. I drank cup after cup of ice water. I sweated profusely through my shirt. I went to the bathroom, and stayed there for several hours. To those of you who may be eating as you read this, I once again apologize for that last part.
Seriously, though, there were chilis of many kinds. There was seafood chili, wimpy chili, wild chili (there was no domesticated chili, from what I saw), springtime chili, and five-pepper chili.
There was a no-name chili and chilis with great names, including: “Black Beans and Consequences,” the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Taste…and Then Some,” “Some Kind of Chili,” Linda Lambert’s library-inspired “Dewey Decimator Chili 641,”and, conjuring up images of Al Gore, Jim Hollingsworth’s “Global Warming, It is Here,” chili.
There was, as comedian Ron White once eloquently put it, “chili everywhere.” Even hours after the event, the smell of chili lingered in the air of the classroom as if it had been permanently absorbed into the paint on the walls.
In the end, $1,671 was raised, and Cindy Woods’ “Chiang Mai High” chili took home the coveted Trustee’s Award. Cindy Hoskins also won for the “Best Damn Chili You’ll Ever Eat,” and the People’s Choice Award (everyone had the chance to vote for their favorite chili) will be announced on Professional Development Day on Feb. 26.
I have just used the word “chili” 22 times in an editor’s column. Now it’s 23 times. That is a record that will, one imagines, never be eclipsed as long as the Horizon continues to be published. Did I mention that I love chili? I think I’m getting hungry.
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