chili size

May 31, 2014

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

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  1. Fortunate enough to be one of the guests. It was great, but we were the ones in the dark about chile size. The photo of the shortbread and chocolate with the beautiful magnolia is awesome.


  2. chili recipe? :) Everything looks so lovely!

  3. Never heard of it but its a cute name! Reminds me of all the variations of the sloppy joe--sandwich or meat on top? Knife and fork or pick it up? And there's even a knitted "sloppy joe"! Anyway, thanks for educating us!

  4. In St Louis we have something similar called a 'slinger' which is two fried eggs, hash browns, & hamburger patty covered in chili. No bun - top or bottom. :)

  5. First, and possibly foremost, I would NEVER let Ramon in my kitchen to make chili or anything else!!! That dude is NOT the one you want messing around in your kitchen!!! :-)

    I had never heard the term chili size in my life even though I've visited Los Angeles many times and have friends & family who live there. I'm going to start using it, though, and make it a trend here in the Kansas City area!!! I just think maybe people here would call it an open-face chili burger. I don't know...that seems fairly accurate. Whatever, it sure looks good, and I would be ALL OVER IT!

    Your roses are exceptionally beautiful! I like the mix of colors!


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