chili size

It's funny when you use a phrase or a word, and you just assume that everyone else knows that same phrase or word.  Maybe you and your family use it all the time and you grew up with it and you'd never think it may not be the same for everyone else all around the world.  Only to find out that no, no one has any idea what you are talking about.  That happened last night with chili size.  We had a small group of friends over for dinner after golf.  First it was just meeting here for drinks after golf and before we went to dinner.  Then my husband said, "let's just eat here and we'll make chili size", as he had just made a pot of chili. I had some asparagus in the refrigerator and could make a salad of it and could make some cookies pretty quickly for dessert.  It wouldn't take long and we both thought it sounded good.   At golf we said, "come over after the game and we'll have chili size for dinner" and everyone agreed that would be nice.  But it wasn't until we were sitting down and eating that our friends from New Jersey and our friends from England confessed they had no idea whatsoever what a chili size was.  What???  How can someone not know what a chili size is?

Before I went to bed I googled it and turns out it's a word local to Los Angeles only, which is where my husband and I grew up.  We are now a mere 500 miles away no one seems to know a chili size.  That's too bad.  I must educate you if you don't happen to live in LA.  A chili size is a hamburger meat patty, with or without bun, covered with chili which you eat with a knife and fork.  It's guy food that girls like too. You use the regular chili condiments, grated sharp cheddar, chopped red onion and dried red pepper flakes for those that want the chili even hotter.  I'm certain this specialty is served everywhere, and don't know what they call it, but where I grew up it was always chili size.

My husband, since his retirement, has turned into the chilimeister.  He cooks up a batch every few months or so and stores it away in the freezer for last minute lunches and dinners.   It's always red, with ground beef, red kidney beans and our homemade tomato sauce.  He is a bit like a mad scientist with the spices, adding a little here and there, tasting all the while.  Chili in the USA is usually cooked by the men.  All across the country there are chili cookoffs; big and little contests with only one thing on the menu, that and a beer and maybe cornbread.  And always plenty of pride on the line.  Churches, PTAs, Fire Houses, Rotary clubs and friends will get together and have chili cookoffs.  These are often fundraisers and are always fun and mostly open to the public.   As a guest you are to sample as many chilis as you can, cast your vote and cheer for the winner. It's highly competitive in a fun way.  I've heard of couples spending their vacations crisscrossing states visiting different chili cookoffs!

Below is what the chili size looks like in it's perfect magnificent form.   IMHO it's best with no bottom bun but some southern Californian's may insist on a toasted bottom bun, but never a top.  We started with an asparagus salad and ended with shortbread and chocolate.  Quite nice.

Here is a list of some chili cookoffs coming up in the near future.  
Shortbread recipe
Roses, David Austin

works-in-progress parade

I decided to take pictures of all my works in progress, the actual ones that have a chance of getting finished this year, maybe even this summer. 

I've been working on this for a while.  It's Ravello by Isabell Kraemer knit in KSH Strip in color California Sunrise.

I just received my copy of Honey last night and immediately cast on for Goldie, just because, well, I love it, but also I had the yarn for it in my stash!  That means its FREE :)   I have a sparkly, smokey KSH Eclipse and Fine Lace in a gunmetal black.  I started it because I wanted to know what it would be like to knit with these two together, and naturally it's fabulous as I expected.  I'll put this away for now and bring out when I'm on a long plane ride the end of June.  This will be a perfect travel knit, lightweight, only a little shaping and a ton of stockinette.

I'd love to have this done soon.  Bay, from an older Kim Hargreaves book, knit in Rowan Original Denim in color Nashville.

This is Torine from Martin Storey's Truesilk Collection.  I'm using a pale blue and turning it into an infinity scarf for my daughter.  I've eliminated the bobbles and think I'm only going to use 3 balls.  Very luxurious.

I've set Guido aside for now.  I'll get back to it in July as it's for my son's September birthday.  It's from the newest Rowan Magazine and knit with Rowan Revive, a recycled mix of silk, rayon and cotton.  It's stunning.

I've just finished Solitaire, also from the Truesilk Collection.  I knit it in Cotton Glace.  Ill wear it downtown today when I meet with my girlfriend.  I am a little unsure about the neckline and may take it out and make it wider.  She'll help me decide.

Brooke by Sarah Hatton is from the Simple Shapes book for Panama.  This is my first time using Panama and I love it.  It has a lot of texture and beautiful drape.  I showed it to my daughter and she wants a similar sweater in the exact same yarn and exact color.  She likes Wander below.

I've not cast on for this, so not officially a WIP, but I have the yarn in my stash.  Or I could pair it with some Fine Lace and make this pretty one below, also from Honey.  Probably the one below, what do you think?

Also, I'm keeping up with my afghan squares for the Martin Storey PWW KAL.

Gotta go, the game is on and the knitting is waiting!


California back roads and back garden

We went to southern California for a short visit and on the way home decided to take the back roads, just love it when we have time for that.  We left Simi Valley and took the 118 through Somis and Saticoy, then the 126 to the 101 where we traveled on the coast for a bit.  At Santa Barbara we went inland with the 154 through the San Marcos Pass to Solvang for a late smorgasbord lunch, then north again on the 154 until it met up with the 101.  It was a lovely drive.  California does have beautiful back roads that tend to be quieter, slower and far prettier.  If you're in no hurry, try it!

This morning I took some random pictures of the garden and picked a few posies.  The magnolia below is so fragrant, just one blossom makes the house smell like I baked a pie.  For a bit of nostalgia, I searched out my grandmother's etched glass basket vase for the sweet peas and my nana's cut glass vase for the nasturtiums.  An old fashioned flower needs an old fashioned vase.

The garden is keeping us busy.  Every morning I take a walk and nip the weeds before they get too comfortable.  I walk through the entire yard, hat on head, hoe in hand, no weed can hide from my eagle eye.  My husband tends to the watering, and if we spend a little time every morning we don't get too far behind.  We are harvesting carrots and scallions right now, herbs too, but not much else.  We have planted everything we plan to; tomatoes, onions, leeks, fennel, beans, beets, squash, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants.  Not in large quantities, just enough for us and a little to share.  We have not been water rationed but still we have managed to cut our water from last year by 25% and it has not been that difficult.  Our garden is smaller and we are leaving a few beds unplanted.

This year the hydrangeas have gone mad.  They are simply huge and threatening to grow as tall as the house.  They will be quite a sight when they're in full bloom in a few weeks. We have a dozen bushes in the back perennial bed and another half dozen in the front of our house.  You can see in the last picture that they are completely covering our front porch.  There is a front door hidden behind there somewhere.  We had the idea that we would trim them very sparsely last winter, but I think we were perhaps a little too light handed.

Have you been knitting the Martin Storey afghan?  Week 6 is available a few days early as it is a bank holiday in the UK on Monday.  Go here for the free download of Little Doughnuts. 

Hope you have a sunny weekend!  xo