It was a fundraiser to fill the Xmas toy wishes of local children in need. A few bucks got you two different bowls of chili with all the fixins, a hunka-hunka wedge of a home-baked dessert, crackers a-plenty and a beverage.
Two different colored bowls (red and green) brimming with the reddish-brown meaty concoction for the ages awaited hungry chili epicureans in the downstairs multi-purpose room of our small town's historic Methodist church.
The red bowl chili was heavy on the ground beef while the green bowl selection held a satisfying mix of chunky and ground beef.
Red was milder in flavor, with a touch of vinegar essence in every bite.
Green embraced it's spicier side by showcasing a welcomed inclusion of finely chopped onions and peppers.
As a control, I tasted each bowl as virgin samplings, downing a good portion of each before topping them off with equal portions of raw onions, hand-crumbled saltines, Louisiana hot sauce, and a sprinkling of coarsely grated cheddar cheese - my preferred bowl chili toppings.
Votes were cast using a double-blind taste test and the winner for best chili was chosen completely by total votes cast.
The Catholics won spoons down.
Variables I felt affected the outcome included the weather, as the digital mercury device was reading in the low-30's that night and the Catholic's chili was definitely leaning toward the spicier side.
Had the competition taken place in the heat of the Oklahoma summer, I'm convinced the Methodist's recipe of stewed meat and beans with the milder piquancy would have emerged victorious in the end.
Entertainment for the event included a discussion with the Methodist church's Youth minister who originally hailed from Boston. While we commiserated on what we missed
about our respective big city birthplaces and discussed the differences between Boston Baked Beans and Cowboy beans, the chili slowly disappeared from the kitchen and $800 was raised to brighten the December 25th morning of dozens of low income kidkins.
Grapevine rumor ensures me that the Methodist's have demanded a rematch.