Jim Bartlett's Blog

Posts from January 2014


Super Chili Tradition
Super Bowl Sunday is not far off, and at our house, we'll revisit our annual tradition:  Super Bowl Chili. I've made a pot of some kind of chili for every Super Bowl game since 1984, so this is the 31st annual.

The recipe changes from year to year.  When the tradition began, it was a simple recipe from the cookbook that came with our first microwave oven, the one we got as a wedding present from Ann's parents.  It's gotten both more and less elaborate as time's gone by.  I usually make it from scratch, but I have also been known to buy one of those canned Chili Magic things from the grocery store in a pinch.  One of my favorite recipes uses fried bologna. (It's not very healthy, but it's insanely good.)  I tried making an Emeril recipe with andouille sausage one year (which wasn't all that great), and I've used my brother's recipe several years even though he's the only one who can ever get it right.  My most reliable recipe is one from Cherokee Bison Farm.  It has so much stuff in it that I had to get a special giant pot to make it in.  The recipe is meant to be made with ground bison, of course, but I've used ground turkey and even ground emu over the years.

The sides and desserts vary from year to year, too.  The only constant is that there's always too much of everything. And there's beer.  Oh yes, plenty of beer.

Enjoy the game, everybody.
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Beer and Wine Tourist
As I have written here before, I am a beer and wine tourist.  Ann and I will take off on a weekend afternoon just to visit some winery or brewery in the area, and when we travel farther afield, we always bring a list of likely spots to hit along the way. (Some smart economist has probably already figured out the financial value of such tourism; I can tell you that we dropped a tidy pile of cash into the winery/brewery economy of Michigan on a recent weekend visit.)

Beer and wine tourism isn't always about visiting specific places - it can also involve attending specific events. Madison's Great Taste of the Midwest, one of the country's oldest and largest beer festivals, brings literally millions of dollars into the Dane County economy every August as visitors come from all over the country to stay in hotels, buy restaurant meals--and take home carloads of beer they can't get anywhere else. The Isthmus Beer and Cheese Festival on Saturday January 18 is getting a reputation as an event worth traveling for, too. And there's a new event coming this summer that's likely to create quite a buzz: the Bacon, Brew and BBQ Fest at Angell Park in Sun Prairie set for July 12. The event is still in the planning stages and the lineup of participating brewers and restaurants is still being set. But with the three magic words - bacon, brew, and BBQ - it can't help but be great, right?

Tickets will go on sale March 1.. Will Ann and I be there? Was Lincoln a car?
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