Saturday, 24 March 2012

Misadventures in food packaging

The cure. 
Nothing beats the blues like Texas chile.

It's so easy to cook that you don't even have to be sober or awake to make it. Nor do you have to be Texan, even if you are both asleep and drunk. Texas chile is a comfort food that spans borders.

Here's how to make it:

  • saute an onion and several cloves of garlic
  • add a packet of mince 
  • throw in oregano, a tin of kidney beans, two tins of tomatoes, salt and cumin. 
  • chuck in the scalding chili additive of your choosing
  • drown the lot in cheap read wine. 
  • simmer a couple hours till nearly burnt, then wash it down with what remains of the cheap red wine. 

The trouble with Texas chile a la Chaos HQ, is that it has to go over corn bread and under sour cream. Sour cream is easy enough to come by in London, but cornbread ain't. 

Just say no. 
In the homeland a box of Jiffy cornbread will set you back about forty cents. Sadly Britain remains a Jiffy-less island, even though you can buy a $14 box Lucky Charms in Primrose Hill, which is proof that every expat has a super-gross junk food craving (I admit with shame that mine is Aunt Jemima fake maple syrup).

Last week  I reckoned I was in luck when I stumbled upon a box of Aunt Jemima corn bread in my local shop. I didn't think much about the phrase 'no mess baking' on the box until it actually came to cooking it. Regular readers such as my mother will recall that I have a visceral hatred of fake-lazy cooking products. 

Texas chili on the burner, I cracked open the cornbread and was nearly knocked down by a horrible fake cardboard baking tray. But then came the real horror: a pouch of cornbread mix and a note instructing me to dump an egg into the bag, squish it around into a slime concoction, and not puke while so doing. 

Make no mistake - no mess baking has its consequences. I can now confirm that chasing an egg yolk round a plastic bag with your fingertips is substantially grosser than just getting a mixing bowl dirty. 

And yet, all it took to wipe the memory of egg squishery from my fingertips was an overly gluttonous helping of Texas chile, and some cheap red wine. So I forgive Aunt Jemima. After all, she is the champion of fake maple syrup, which shines above and beyond your run of the mill fake food products. 


  1. That sounds amazing! I am very partial to cornbread as well, even if that does soundr revolting to make! :)

  2. Super easy to make - but avoid the no-mess stuff at all costs! It's not worth it!

  3. YES! We love the horrid fake maple syrup from the States so much we get it shipped in when we run out, about every 4 months or so. I may try your chilli recipe very soon.