In his indispensable collection of essays, Simple Cooking, John Thorne mentions a ghastly-sounding recipe, pressed upon him by a friend, involving lemon juice, catsup, ginger ale, cabbage and meat balls. "There are three possible responses to a recipe of this type: outright disgust, hypnotic fascination, and a complex mixture of the two." (John Thorne, "Truly Awful Recipes," in Simple Food (Penguin, 1987), p. 216) Somehow these choices don't do justice to my reaction to the following.
My oldest friend in the world, Mr M Edwin Lane, has developed this dish to comfort him on cold and desolate winter evenings. If I were in a sad, vulnerable state, this concoction would be all it took to sap my will to persevere in this valley of tears. Its Dostoevskian window onto the abyss of human imagination should not be opened by anyone with a functioning olfactory bulb.
The call for 'several teaspoons' of olive oil betrays my dear friend's unfamiliarity with kitchen fundamentals, notwithstanding that nonsense about 'extra-virgin.' To protect the unwary, I've resisted a powerful impulse to edit the formula.
Garlic, lots (fresh!)
Grated Parmesan Cheese (not fresh, from plastic container)
Tortilla corn chips (not colored as it detracts from the flavor)
2 cans Hormel Chili (Hot with Beans)
2 bags of rice
2 cans of corn, niblet style
In a pan place several teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, heat and add lots of garlic. Douse with Tabasco and black pepper. Add 2 cans of corn, drained.
Whilst this heats, boil the 2 bags of rice and also heat the two cans of Hormel. (N.B. Do not smell the chili before you warm it as it has the unfortunate smell of dogfood before the miracle of warmth transforms it in to a golden brown delight.)
In a large bowl place the ingredients in the following order:
rice on bottom
½ of the chili
the corn and garlic
a layer of parmesan cheese
good shot of Tabasco
the rest of the chili
more Tabasco to taste, salt and pepper
several handfuls of crushed tortilla chips, arranged in an attractive manner.
Tip: This is best consumed with an ice cold beer, Corona comes to mind, and in front of the television.
Tip: Alka Seltzer at hand is always a good idea.
Tip: Dessert: Ice cream!!!!!!!!!!! Rocky Road !!!!!!!!
Tip: Avoid open flames.
Rest assured that I have not tested this recipe. (September 2000)
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