Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's The Better Cook

So I've got several reasons that I'm voting for Obama this year. Several of them, interestingly enough, have something to do with food. Here's an example from the Plain Dealer that sort of seals the deal for me: what both men like to cook.

You can tell a lot about a man by what he chooses to do in the kitchen.

McCain, it seems, likes to deep fry turkeys in peanut oil. This is, to be modest, and incredibly dangerous and risky prospect. You cannot find a deep-turkey fryer with a UL seal of approval... because blowtorches welded to aluminum cans just aren't safe. Sure, you can get some tasty results. But is a ham-handed approach to the problem. You can roast that bird and get excellent results, if you pay attention to details and don't race off for the quick and easy answer.

Risky, quick, ill-thought out tactics, without a serious strategy. Sounds sort of like the McCain campaign, doesn't it?

Now, Obama likes to make chili. That's a manly sort of cooking, in its own way - most guys claim to know how to make chili. But you've got so many options when you make the stuff. Do you go hard-core classic, with nothing but diced steak and chilis? Beans or no beans? How spicy? Slow cook or sautee? To be a serious chili cook, you have to form a plan, listen to your audience, pursue your plan with conviction, and follow through no matter what. These are all hallmarks of the Obama campaign, in my opinion, and they're also the hallmarks of a really good cook.

Here's the chili recipe I use at home. It's based on two fundamental needs for the house: No spice (my wife likes it mild, as does my four-year-old daughter); and on the table in less than an hour. See if you like it... and if you don't, well, then, I Hope you Change it.

Baja-Style Chili

1 pound lean ground beef (90/10)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large can diced tomatoes
3 T chili seasoning
1 lime
1 cup grated mild cheddar
Sour cream

In a large saute pan, brown the ground beef. Transfer the beef to a colander with a slotted spoon; reserve 1 T of beef fat. Sautee the diced onion until transparent. Return the beef to the pan; add the full, undrained can of tomatoes and chili spice to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Squeeze the juice of half of the lime into the chili; add cheddar and simmer 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and at once, garnishing with lime wedges, grated cheddar, and sour cream.

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