Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Cooking With The Marlboro Man

The weather has finally turned cold here.

It's not really cold enough, nor will it last long enough to satisfy me, but it's something. I can snuggle up under my down comforter, light a fire in the fireplace and wear something fleecy without feeling like I'm going to spontaneously combust.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the bracing chill and celebrate by indulging in hearty things that warm my belly and my soul.

Tonight at my house, North meets South in our evening meal of chili and cornbread. Not that chili is strictly a Northern fact, probably the opposite is true. But the recipe is a family recipe, and so, I consider it a Northern interpretation.

The story of this chili is nothing truly astounding or touching or fascinating. It's just a story and I like that it has one, even if it's a little...weird.

Back in the seventies, my parents, like most people, were smokers. The cigarette companies, in an attempt to keep their consumers beguiled (because apparently, the profoundly addictive properties of their product weren't enough) made available a wide variety of promotional items that could be obtained by sending in the little paper slips that came in the packages.

Back then, people smoked enough that you could really rake in the goods that way, and my parents were no exception. They also traded them amongst their friends when the items they wanted were brand specific.

Don't judge them, they didn't know any better and either did most other folks of that generation. thing that my mother sent away for was the Marlboro Chuckwagon Cookbook, though she didn't smoke Marlboros, she was much too couth for that. She smoked Benson and Hedges Gold. How do I remember this? Because of course, I went to the store to buy cigarettes for my parents many times and nobody thought anything of that.

Strangely enough, that thing is now considered a rare and hard to find item and is selling for $145 on Alibris and other rare book sites. I wonder if my Mom still has hers. She liked it so much she bought several and gave them out as gifts.

Don't laugh, it had some really awesome recipes in it, and they are all very simple. (Because they're meant to be cooked over a campfire...duh.)

There was this cake made right in the pan, from left over coffee. I don't remember the exact recipe, but the main ingredients were flour, cocoa and coffee. One mixed the dry ingredients first and then formed a well into which one poured the coffee. A little mixing with a fork and it was ready to pop into the oven. It was simple enough for me to make myself, and it was amazingly moist and delicious.

It is from this same cookbook that our family chili recipe was taken. Most recipes undergo an evolution over time, as they are passed from cook to cook, family to family, but in our family at least, it has remained unchanged. The only variant is the level of spiciness, which can be easily altered to suit the taste of the individual.

Once my mother made two batches because my father liked it HOT HOT HOT! and we children couldn't tolerate it. I remember how we bathed our tongues in milk the first time she made it, desperately trying to cool the burn. And I remember sitting across from one another at the dinner table giggling at how we looked with our tongues lolling out and milk sloshing over the sides of the glass as we laughed.

It's hard to laugh with your tongue hanging out.

Now, it is he with his GERD and his problems on the opposite end who has to have the milder version, and we who savor the delicious bite.

This recipe is called "Wild Card Chili" and I will share it with you, so that you too can feel as if you are cooking with the Marlboro Man, over an open campfire, in a skirt and a corset but no underwear, while your horse grazes contentedly on prairie grass and the whole world is your toilet.

Perhaps, while preparing this meal, you can imagine sharing a moment with this handsome cowboy. He will gaze into your eyes, smile softly, and say, "Them was some fine vittles woman!" and then fart appreciatively.

Hell, I never said the Marlboro man was a charmer. He's a cowboy fer chrissake. He probably bathes like what...once a year when he brings that cattle in?

Wild Card Chili

1 lb. ground beef
1 16 oz. can kidney beans
1 16 oz. can refried beans
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Cup water
1 Cup chopped onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3 tbs. chili powder
1 tbs. molasses
OPTIONAL: 1 tsp dried chopped hot red peppers

Brown ground beef, drain. Combine all ingredients, simmer for 1-2 hours. You can put this in a crockpot or slowcooker as well.

Obviously, you could embellish this any way you like with any spices that suit your taste. But the simplicity of this recipe is what I like best about it. And I do use the chopped red peppers, but use your best judgement. You can always add them later if you find it's too bland.



  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I am giggling at the image in my head of you guys with your tongues hanging out :)
    My hubby and I used to smoke, too, and somehow we got signed up for the Marlboro & Camel mailing lists. They are constantly sending us coupons and occasional gifts. The best gift we ever got was from Marlboro and it's a little cookbook with 20 or so chili recipes ~ that's it. Just chili. We, being from Indiana, also love to warm our innerds on cold days and chili does just the trick...
    If only I could convince my boys to love it too. Seems it'd be appropriate for CO kids also, but they apparently disagree.

  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger Crazed Nitwit said…

    My parents were like yours but both quit 12-15 years ago.

    Cracking up, The Marlboro man is a man after all. Men and farts, they go together.

  • At 10:15 AM, Blogger Crazed Nitwit said…

    My parents were like yours but both quit 12-15 years ago.

    Cracking up, The Marlboro man is a man after all. Men and farts, they go together.

  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    My dad smoked Kool when I was growing up. I also have memories of running up to the corner store to buy cigarettes. I was probably around 9 at the time.

    I love the recipe. I enjoy trying BTDT recipes because they're almost always good. We'll be trying this one.

    After all, if it's good enough for the Marlboro man, it's certainly good enough for me.

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger we_be_toys said…

    "Nothing says loving like something from the oven' - that and an appreciative fart, of course.

  • At 12:19 PM, Blogger jennie said…

    That sounds really tasty - the refried beans are an interesting addition. I'll try this one. I'll have to wait a bit because I made some chili this week that used a ridiculous amount of beef and turned out like cumin-flavored sloppy joes. Gross.

  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Foofa said…

    I thought the refried beans were a very interesting addition as well. This may have to be tried. I'll probably add a few jalepenos and some hot sauce to it though. I like things HOT HOT HOT.

  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger anne said…

    Excellent. I didn't have a dinner plan for tonight. Until now!

    Chili tonight! Woohoo!

  • At 8:07 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    I am just thinking of the cozyness of it all.
    thanks for shareing

  • At 8:53 PM, Blogger Life As I Know It said…

    We just had chili and cornbread for dinner tonight!

  • At 9:10 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    Whoohoo! I loves me some recipes from my blogging buddies. I'll be making this really soon because I also loves me some chili.

  • At 9:52 PM, Blogger Sharon Matherson said…

    Hopefully, you're getting some of this snow over on your side of the state. If not, I'll build a snow-woman for you. Three inches and counting up here in Dahlonega.

    And I'll try the chili recipe just as soon as Wal-mart gets restocked following the weather-induced panic shopping.

  • At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Always ready to try a new chili recipe, I am. One I made for the SuperBowl several years ago topped the charts. It was so gourmet. Husband loved it, and so did our friends. However, I entered it in a chili cook-off at work and it got 2nd to something that tasted like Hormel. I was so sad. But few people can appreciate the complexity. And I wouldn't want it on a regular basis, either. All that drivel to say THANKS for the recipe. :)

  • At 12:36 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    Buying cigs for Mom - what an image. People now would FREAK OUT!!!

  • At 9:53 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    Yum, I love chili! I made some on New Year's Eve and it was a little too powerful...everyone who ate it had the runs for about two days afterward.

  • At 11:13 AM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    not so many years ago when i was a true marlboro (menthol lights 100s) fan, i ordered a more modern version of the marlboro cookbook. and i have to say, the cigarettes will kill you, yes--but the recipes in that cookbook will allow you to die happy. at least until that trach goes in and you have to suck your meals into your stomach through a tube.

  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger sltbee69 said…

    Sounds yummy! Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely have to try that version out. Obviously, anytime you eat chili there are farts.

  • At 9:50 PM, Blogger S said…

    My mom was a Parliament devotee.

    I'd be interested in the recipe for that cake made from leftover coffee!

  • At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I found the coffee cake recipe on this blog

  • At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have that cookbook and every winter my husband and I cook from it, our faces are the Philly Jack and cheese and the Jamaican jerk. Unfortunately, our book is packed deep away in a storage unit and I'm 9 months pregnant and craving that Jamaican jerk chili. Any way you could help me?

  • At 12:57 PM, Blogger Donna said…

    I also had that cookbook years ago. However, over the years it began to fall apart, I believe I may have a few pages left packed away somewhere. The chili recipe I have kept in my head all this time and use it everytime I make chili. The crazy cake recipe was a lot of fun. Years ago when my daughter was about 10 or 11, my friend and I were girl scout leaders. We had the girls bake that cake in a box oven on one of our campouts. Our troop won first prize in the bake-off. Now all the girls are grown with children of their own, but I bet they remember that trip well. We simply put a little cool whip on top of each piece and some Hershey bar shavings as a garnish. It looked and tasted wonderful. Thanks for reminding me how good that little book was. I will have to try to locate one somewhere. Donna

  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger G. B. Miller said…

    I am a 70's mom who has lost her Marlboro recipe book. Gracious!! I decided that I wanted to go back to my "old" chili recipe - Headquarters Chili from the 'M' cookbook. I've searched high and low and can't find it. So, I "googled" Marlboro chili recipe and found it. And your blog. Too funny!!! Can't believe I've lost such a valuable item. Dang!!

  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger G. B. Miller said…

    I am a 70's mom who has lost her Marlboro recipe book. Gracious!! I decided that I wanted to go back to my "old" chili recipe - Headquarters Chili from the 'M' cookbook. I've searched high and low and can't find it. So, I "googled" Marlboro chili recipe and found it. And your blog. Too funny!!! Can't believe I've lost such a valuable item. Dang!!

  • At 3:04 AM, Blogger Stan Smith said…

    I cannot say that I remember the 1970's version of the Marlboro recipe book, but I was given a copy of their Chuckwagon cookbook in the early 1980's at the Commissary in Fulda, Germany and used to make their chili, BBQ sauce, and chocolate cake.

    I'd searched for a copy in the past and came up empty, but this time I found quite a few copies and paid far more than I would have thought I would be willing to pay for what was at one time a FREE cookbook and the only reason I am willing to part with a small fortune for a copy is exactly what you wrote about here. That cookbook became part of my family's history...ask one of my older kids about it and they'll start slinging stories left and right. The three younger kids have no idea what they are talking about and I plan on giving them a few memories of their own with it.

    If nothing else, I'll have a new memory borrowed from your childhood to make me laugh when I use it. Too funny!!!

  • At 9:16 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I had this booklet years ago. It eventually kind a fell apart and the different recipes have gotten lost. The only one I can find is the one posted here in its original form. I would love to find the rest of them. Everyone wants an arm and a leg to purchase the whole booklet. The marlboro site doesn't even have it any longer. Any ideas where I can get all the original recipes?


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