I was making chili the other night and besides being grateful that no native Texan would be eating my Northern-based chili, I thought about music.  I kept tasting the mix and as I did, I caught the different tones, notes if you will.

There was plenty of soprano—piquancy—because of all the tomatoes.  (Texas chili shuns tomatoes)  Alto range was covered by the molasses and the cumin.  Alto seems to me round and warm, sweet but not too sweet.  Tenor, the heat—chilies, jalapeno…somehow tenor snaps the eyes open and makes one pay attention.

What my chili lacked, I decided, was bass, darkness…base!  It needed something.  There was enough meat, but I think I didn’t brown it hard, dark enough.

I added some soy sauce, but that made it too salty.  Worcestershire sauce which helped some but I never got it quite right.

Chili, like watermelons and sermons get judged at our house:  Was it good?  Great?  So-so? The best one this year? This chili was barely ho hum.

Memorable chili, like everything else, needs to be perfectly balanced.

Friendships are like that.  In our careless use of the term friend, we say we have many, but great friendships come along only once or twice in a lifetime.

While the relationship will not be free of tension—indeed if it were it would not be perfectly balanced, it will have a solid bass.  At least one aspect of the friendship will be rock-solid, stable. And from that place, or note, the other components will bring themselves into relative pitch.

Friendship components which I believe need to be nearly equal for a pleasing harmony include intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical, in terms of passion and rationally developed positions.

Friends may disagree—be poles apart—if they can respect the perceptions of the other.

This is from a journal entry from November 12, 1993



  1. Ahh, food, music, and friendship — how well they go together! Especially liked the concluding paragraph below.

    Sent from my iPad



  2. I have a friend who puts cocoa in her chili. There was a chili diner on Milwaukee’s Eastside near Riverside High School that served six different varieties of chili. (I don’t know if it is still open or not.) I think one of the recipes had nutmeg in it. Both cocoa and nutmeg would produce that dark bass that you thought your recipe should have. No matter what your culinary chili is missing, I know that our friendship isn’t missing any spice or any sustenance. Some times it is on overload one way or the other, but it is never lacking in the basics.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s