Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Got chili?

This is a picture of Tolbert's Restaurant in Grapevine, an iconic and authentic chili
parlor. Frank Tolbert was the founder and moving spirit behind the annual chili cook-off in Terlingua, Texas. He first opened his restaurant in 1976. Today his daughter and her husband serve forty gallons of chili a day. They still use her father's recipe. Pardon the white car--I'm not a good photographer.

I was scheduled to have lunch with Melinda from TCU Press today, so I called to ask how she felt about pink eye. "I hate it!" was her vehement reply. But Jacob had developed pink eye and would only be sent home from school if he went, so he was mine for most of the day. I thought I'd take him to lunch with us, but his mother came and got him about eleven, took him to the doctor and fed him while Melinda and I indulged in wine and salad at Patrizio's--our favorite lunch. Jacob was a lamb all day--mostly watched TV, played with his Legos, and every once in a while came to the office to visit or make an announcement. His frequent question, after determining that everyone else was in school: When will the children be out of school? My first answer was six hours. But about three, when I had gone to nap with a stern warning to wake me only in emergency, he came calling, "Wake up! Unlock the door! I want to wave at my teacher." I'm afraid I said no. Good thing I had locked the high-up dead bolt.
All this quiet had a great benefit--I got a good start on revising and finishing my chili book. Decided on the organization and did a new outline,sorted out recipes, and saw that I have a lot of work ahead of me. I've been talking to the folks at Texas Tech about this for over a year--we get close and then one of us backs off. But I think the editor is ready to send it for outside appraisal if I'll just get it done, and we're talking about pictures, etc. My big chore now is mostly going to be cut and paste without losing attribution--I'm a little daunted by the prospect. But there is quite a bit of new material I want to add.
It's been a fun book to research, but I will still welcome recipes. So, if you have an unusual chili recipe (I have plenty of traditional, thank you) or a suggestion for something to do with chili--like Frito Pie, nachos, appetizers, etc.--please do send it to me at j.alter@tcu.edu, and I'll be sure to credit if I use it. Can't promise to use every recipe and can't promise a comp copy of the book. That's all out of my hands. Recipes from all over are welcome because I make the point that chili may have begun in Texas--it really did, and not in Mexico as many people believe--it is now almost a naitonal dish. The title of this book at this point is still Texas is Chili Country.

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