Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Suspense of Chili

To celebrate Ravens' winning the NFL Championship this year, I got up Monday morning to make chili, for the first time in my life. You should know, I'm not a morning person. I don't get up just for anything if I didn't have to. But my love for food is strong enough to pull me out of bed. And you know who else loves food? Alfred Hitchcock.
I love Alfred Hitchcock. Period. I've seen most of his movies, some quite a few times. It doesn't matter how great contemporary horror movies are, Psycho remains the all-time classic. Period.
One of the earliest books I've read about Hitchcock said the Master of Suspense described how you could produce suspense in a story: If you are showing some people playing poker and that later they will be bombed, you should begin by showing there's a mysterious package just under the table and then show the people playing poker. I later learned in screenwriting class that it's part of something called "dramatic irony" where the audience knows what's going on, but the characters in the movie don't. It creates tension and excitement in the audience, and you have to keep watching to see what happens later.
Yes, I do read non-fiction, once in a while. And it shouldn't surprise you if I'm reading anything about Hitchcock.

The book discusses the whole process of how the movie came into being: from how the book came about to why Hitch picked it to all the details in produciton and post-production. It's like a huge Wikipedia article about Hitchcock and the making of Psycho. As obssessed as I am with the fat genius man, I find myself more and more fascinated about his work. Is it possible?
The movie adaptation was great. In fact, I watched the movie before I started reading the book. But now that I'm half way through the book, I still think that the movie is just as great. It seems to have a different focus from the book. The movie shows a lot tension between Hitch and his wife Alma while the book has been solely centering on the production of the movie.
I love the scene from the movie when Psycho's premiere turned out to be a great success, Hitch brings Alma to the front of all the blinking cameras and says to her, "You are my favorite Hitchcock blond." Alma says, "I have waited for you to say that for over 30 years." And Hitch says, "That, Darling, is why they call me the Master of Suspense."

So have you been wondering what kind of chili I made? Did my suspense work?
Here's my recipe, I'm calling it the Super Bowl

Super Bowl

1 lb groud beef
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of red kidney bean
1 can of corn
1 can of tomato paste
canola oil
chili powder
cayenne pepper
garlic salt
black pepepr
corn starch
1/3 of a bottle of Guinness beer

Brown the beef in a pan then remove to a plate, don't drain the fat.
Cook the celery and pepper in the fat with a little canola oil, when slightly cooked remove to a separate plate.
Cook the onions and garlic for about three minutes then put the meat back in till the onions are clear. Add the canned tomato with juice and the tomato paste.
When well mixed, pour everything into a pot and add water just barely covering the content. Add the celery and pepper.
Let it reach a boil and then add corn and kidney beans.
As the chili is cooking, add all the spices and salt and pepper till you like the flavoring. (I know I use way too much garlic probably, you don't have to. My boyfriend Mr. Judd would tell you it's disgusting, but even though I love him, I don't think his opinion is valid since he hates onions.)
Add the beer and after a while add some cornstarch till you like the thickness of the chili and turn off the heat. Mine cooked for about 30 minutes tops.

I know I probably put in a lot of stuff that normally don't go together in chili, but I think the great thing about chili is that you can basically put anything in and it would still taste great!
Good Evening!