Thursday, February 10, 2005


Daniel is a true American Football fan. During our years living in London, he would sit alone watching the game on SKY TV. He was as devoted to sitting up at all hours of the night as I was to sitting alone through the night so as to be able to watch the Oscars live. Aside from marrying me, one of the greatest highlights of his life was attending the 35th Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida.

No surprise therefore that since we came to live in the USA, we have had a series of super, Super Bowl parties every year, with the exception of 2003 when Daniel went to Vancouver to watch the game with his brother, Simon.

Unfortunately this year, our regular imports, Gary and Harry from the UK were unable to attend. Gary is a colleague of Daniel’s who has no clue what the game is about, but both he and his friend Harry, equally clueless about the game, came to NJ for Daniel’s 40th birthday which coincided with our first ever super, Super Bowl party in 2002. They came again in 2004 and brought a friend of theirs with by the name of Darren. Darren knew even less than Gary and Harry about the game, yet miraculously walked off with the winning pot of $140-00. The pot is made up of bets at $20 per person being placed in categories such as TIME OF FIRST TOUCHDOWN, WHO SCORES THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN, HALF TIME SCORE, FULL TIME SCORE, etc. Winner takes all. If you’re wondering, Gary and Harry do not have a brother named Larry! (or Darryl).

In the past, Daniel has taken care of the catering for these parties. I decided that it was time for me to put on my ‘ok, I’ll get into the spirit of it’ hat this year, and take responsibility for feeding the crowd. I arranged for Marti to be here and we planned on making the traditional pot of chili and a pot of soup.

The potato and celery soup was easy to prepare and tasted delicious. I followed the chili recipe perfectly. Both Marti and I agreed it really didn’t have much kick, so we added a liberal amount of chili powder. We let it cook a little longer and on tasting it again, added more chili powder. By the 4th taste, we were adding Cayenne Pepper. I said that if that did not help, I was going to add some Tabasco Sauce.

The phone rang and it was my neighbor Alyson. Alyson is an excellent cook so I asked her about the chili.

“Is chili supposed to be really hot in flavor?”
“Yes” she said.
“Hmmm, I have added way more chili powder than the recipe called for and I have also added quite a bit of Cayenne Pepper.”
She went on to explain, “Chili is the kind of recipe where the flavors come through later. Just as well you are serving the men from the fire department.’
‘Well, as it so happens, oddly enough, the fire chief doesn’t even like hot food! I am really pleased then that I stopped at the Tabasco Sauce.”
“Yes” said Alyson, very diplomatically; “this is probably a good thing.”
By the time the pot looked like it had been licked clean, no-one dialed 911, and probably the best compliment I could ever get from my husband the Fire Fighter and Chef Extraordinaire is one that went like this, “Well done Mrs. Levin, you cooked up a pot of perfectly traditional chili for the event. That was one mean chili!”

The combination of the amazing weather for a February afternoon, some close friends and relatives, a quarterback player fit for any modeling spread, some hot firemen, a pot of chili and some of my favorite females in the house, the heat was certainly on!

Same time, same place, 2006