Because you need some comfort in this cold, uncaring world
By Caroline Ho, Web Editor
The cold weather is seeping into your old, world-weary bones; the short days and insufferably long nights are instilling your spirit with lethargy; the discontented rumbling in your stomach is reminding you that you haven’t eaten a proper meal in, like, at least four hours.
Luckily nothing will warm you up, satiate your belly, and stave off impending nihilism like a hearty pot of chili and some heartwarmingly buttery cornbread. This classic fall combo might not solve all of your quarter-life crises, but at least the food prep will give your aimless life some flimsy semblance of purpose for the next hour or two.
Cooking time: About 0.0001 percent of your life
Serves: Hopefully at least yourself
Hearty and wholesome chili
It’s a big pot of beans, tomatoes, and spices. You’re pretty sure it’s physically impossible to mess a recipe like this up. In fact, the great thing about chili is that it’s so versatile that you can pretty much just completely make it up as you go.
An onion or two
Lots of canned beans
Lots of canned tomatoes
Lots of spices
- Briefly consider actually measuring your ingredients, then dismiss the idea almost immediately. Cooking is an art, not a science—and measurements will only serve to limit your artistic genius.
- Start by pulling out a bunch of different spices, whatever you have kicking around in the pantry. It doesn’t really matter which spices because they all smell pretty good individually so that means they’re bound to go well together. Anyway, variety is the spice of life and God knows your life could use that right now.
- Spend a moment wondering if some of these are technically spices or herbs. Like, what even is coriander? Shrug and throw it in anyway along with everything else.
- Chop onion with a knife as dull as your day-to-day, then find yourself tearing up at both the onions and the existentialism.
- Wipe your eyes, forgetting that you still have spice all over your fingertips, and proceed to practically burn your eyeballs out.
- Might as well sob over top of your onions—it’ll infuse them with some authentic, all-natural sodium.
- Vegetables! Since we’ve already established that “the more the merrier” is the theme here, literally anything goes. Bell peppers and carrots are staples of course, but why stop there? Brussel sprouts, bok choy, pickles, half a watermelon, something long and squishy you can’t identify because your eyes are still burning—hey, if it’s in your crisper and it’s not too mouldy yet, add it in.
- Still slightly blinded, heat up some oil in a large pot and fry those onions for a couple minutes, then add the rest of your vegetables.
- Next, throw in your spice mixture, stir it all up, and bask in the fragrant aroma of diverse miscellanea. Ah yes, complex flavours for the truly cultured.
- Time to add tomatoes and/or other tomato-like products. Aside from canned tomatoes and tomato paste, other creative options that are sure to add a unique kick include marinara, ketchup, butter chicken sauce, salsa—whoops! You’re pretty sure that last one was strawberry jam—but hey, it’s red so it probably has tomatoes in it somewhere, right?
- Finally add beans, lentils, and other legumes. Just throw in whole cans of whatever you can find. Literally the whole can, metal and label and all. You’re sure you need more iron in your diet.
- Okay—it’s starting to smell a little suspect, but you’re sure everything will cook out and come together nicely. Just… turn the heat down to let it simmer for a while and develop. It’s like a good wine, y’know? Gotta let those flavours age. You’ll check on it after the cornbread’s done.
The simplest two-ingredient cornbread
Fine maybe the chili was a little too adventurous. For the cornbread, let’s go back to the very basics.
One loaf of bread
One ear of corn
- Cut bread into slices, unless you bought a sliced loaf, in which case you can feel inordinately clever or something.
- Wrap bread slices evenly around ear of corn, like a nice tight hug.
- Place bread-wrapped corn in a large bowl for at least 10 minutes to marinate. You want to let the separate
components really get to know each other, to let their flavours seep together, to become fast friends, to surrender their individuality over to the sheer, absurd futility of the heat death of the universe.
- Slather the slowly homogenizing mix with butter. No, that wasn’t listed as an ingredient, but butter doesn’t really count because you’re pretty sure you’re biologically composed of about 25 percent butter at this point.
- Stick in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until the smell of warm butter and roasting corn have started to overpower the suspiciously fruity, slightly metallic odour coming from your chili.
- Once cornbread is ready, serve over top of a steaming bowl of chili. Best enjoyed curled up on the sofa with a cozy blanket and some good ol’ Nietzsche to welcome back that existential dread.