Have you ever seen the show, Worst Cooks in America, on the Food Network?

Yeah.  I’m thinking it may be time to send in an audition tape to get myself a slot in Kitchen Boot Camp.

I’m NOT a good cook.  I can generally make things that are palatable if it comes in a box, but C and I really don’t dig meals out of a box.  For a while, I got into the McCormick seasoning packets.  Slice some onions and mushrooms, get some top round beef, throw in the crockpot with water?  Voila!  Stew.  Roast up some potatoes to eat with it? Even better.  Chili?  Just take a seasoning packet, ground beef, canned beans and tomatoes, and toss in the crock.  At least the seasoning packets weren’t a total abomination.

Even still, we like fresh ingredients.  So, I’ve been trying.  But really, cooking is just SO intimidating for me.  I don’t come from a long line of women who have a secret sisterhood of great recipes.  I have a friend whose mom is trained as a creole/cajun chef, and she’s been taught a lot of tricks and recipes.  Not so with me.  And, what’s worse is, I’m a Type-A Overachiever, so the fact that I am less than adequate in the kitchen is frustrating and humiliating.  It makes me not want to cook.

Anyway, C saw this really tasty looking chili recipe in Bon Appetit.  “Huh,” I thought.  “I can do that.”

So, I spent a small fortune buying ingredients for my chili at the Honest Weight Food Co-Op.  I subbed out the canned chipotles for dried chipotles, because that would give it a spicy kick, right?  Right.  We already had chili powder at home.  ACTUALLY, we had one better – this deliciously spicy chili powder from the Asian market.

I couldn’t wait.  This was going to be an AWESOME chili.

I will admit, I did have some apprehension when the smoke in the kitchen made me cough and my nose sting.  I was a bit nervous that when I blew my nose chili powder was coming out.  But, well, this was supposed to be liked this, right?  I mean, the bulger and the butternut sqaush would absorb that.  It would have kick, certainly, but we like kick.  It was going to taste great!

It did taste great.  If you got past the fact that it was fiery enough to be a Man vs. Food challenge.  C, whose system is more sensitive than mine, spent all day yesterday with a stomachache.  My intestines weren’t exactly thrilled with me, either.

At first, we thought it was the dried chipotles that were my downfall.  However, upon discussing substitutions he suggested fresh habaneros.

“Habaneros?  Those AND chili powder?  I think it would be too spicy.”

“Eh, chili powder really isn’t all that spicy.”

“Sure it is.  That Asian chili powder is spicy!  That’s what I used in the chili.”

His eyes got wide as saucers.  “How much?”

How much?  2 1/2 tablespoons.  Way too much.  Because, you see, that “Asian chili powder” is actually dried chiles, crumbled.  Sure, it’s CALLED “chile powder” on the pouch, but it is quite obviously not the same thing.  At least, obvious to C.

C:  “This is totally a Worst Cooks in America mistake.  Could you see Robert Irvine’s face, while he watches you add dried chiles to your recipe!”

Me:  “Yes, but I wouldn’t be eliminated, because it tasted good!  You said so yourself!”

C:  “It made me sick!”

Me:  “Not til the next day.  They wouldn’t know that before judging!”

I think I need remedial cooking before Kitchen Boot Camp.