12th Man = Chili
So I have made Giants play-off chili three times in my life, and all three times have resulted in good luck for the Giants-- but Sunday was the first time I actually had good luck making the chili . . . to explain: the first time I made Giants play-off chili was in 1991-- the Giants played the Bears that afternoon in the NFC divisional play-off game, which they won 31-3, and then they eventually went on to beat Buffalo in the Super Bowl-- and I had recently received a crock-pot as a gift from my parents, once they discovered that I went off the William and Mary meal plan and pocketed the money, and so I was cooking for myself (which consisted of eating fast food, catfish we caught in the Chickahominy River and microwave burritos) and I decided to inaugurate the crock-pot by making some chili so I bought some beef and peppers and onions and chili powder and tossed it into the pot and left it to simmer for a few hours, but when I returned there was a slick of viscous golden liquid atop the chili and there was so much of it that I couldn't scoop it off, it had permeated the entire batch and the chili was disgusting and quite inedible and by this time my roommate Jason had returned and he took a look at the concoction and asked, "Did you brown the meat before you put it in?" and I said, "Brown the meat?" and he said, "You didn't brown the meat and drain the fat?" and that's when I learned that you need to brown the meat before you put it in a crock-pot and by this time the game was nearly on, so I put the top on the crock-pot full of fat saturated meat and peppers and unplugged it and . . . I forgot about it, I suppose it got lost among the detritus on the floor of our room and I "discovered" it a few weeks later; the chili was dry, irremovable, and covered with blue, green, and yellow fungus and so I did the only thing we could-- I tossed the crock-pot off the third floor balcony to the bricks below and a cheering crowd watched it explode into shards of pottery, chunks of chili, and clots of fungus; the second time I made Giants play-offs chili was in 2001, we were living in Damascus and the Giants played Minnesota in the NFC Championship game, which they would win 41-0 and then go on to lose to the Ravens in the Super Bowl (which my friend Drew and I watched at the U.S. Marine house in the middle of the night) and while I was cooking this batch of chili-- and I should mention that I browned the meat-- the power went out, which was a common occurrence in Damascus, so I had to cook by candle-light and I thought I might have to carry the chili to Drew's apartment for the game, because his power was still on, but miraculously, my power came back on an hour before game-time; unfortunately, while I was cooking in the dark, I over-salted the chili, and I soon learned that you can't erase the taste of salt with more spices, and so by the time my wife got home, it was nearly game time and I was close to tears and I hysterically beseeched my wife to help me-- I worked so hard! my chili tasted awful! more chili powder didn't work! more cumin didn't work! more cilantro didn't work! help!-- and my wife looked at me in disbelief and said, "Why don't you brown some more meat, and add a couple more cans of tomatoes and beans and dilute the salt?" and I realized: this was why I married her! this was brilliant! utilize ratio and proportion! more chili and the same amount of salt=less overall salt! and so I was able to save this batch of chili, and everyone enjoyed it as well as the resounding Giants victory; and the third time I made Giants play-off chili was, of course, on Sunday, and the Giants throttled the Packers 37-20, and not only that, but I finally got my culinary act together and made an excellent batch of chili (in a crock-pot) and so I think this bodes well for both the Giants and future batches of my play-off chili.