Sunday, September 23, 2007

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

Generally, I shy away from inventing completely new recipes (although I never really follow them, either). My friend, Sarah Stelnicki, and I used to create some very interesting dishes at sleep overs--we were young and not very good cooks and tasting our concoctions kind of traumatized me, I think.

But today I must have felt adventurous because when I opened the cupboard to hunt down something for dinner, two things jumped out at me: kidney beans and pineapple.

First I was like, "Ewww," then I was like, "Hmmm..." and then I was like, "I wonder if pineapple would taste good in chili."

A quick Google search revealed that I wasn't the first person to think of it--so perhaps it really would be good. I also noticed that "pineapple chili" has quite a few pseudonyms, one being "Hawaiian chili."

Now, Hawaiians actually put pineapple in their chili? For that matter, do they put it on their pizza? Why is it that the minute we slap some pineapple in something it becomes Hawaiian? Isn't pineapple originally from somewhere in South America anyway?

I find it interesting that people, including myself, categorize food so haphazardly; I didn't really notice it, though, until I became more internationally-minded.

When Andrew and I were on our honeymoon, we were sitting in a pizzeria in Venice trying to decide what to order. Andrew was busy debating between a margherita and a margherita while I continuously interrupted his decision making by asking him what odd things were on the pizzas I was thinking about ordering (they have this one pizza with mussels--shell and all--on it...I wanted to make sure not to order that kind).

In Italy they have such a thing as "American Pizza." It has corn on it because you and I both know Americans throw corn into everything...or not. They also have Viennese pizza--with hot dogs on it. What would a good Viennese meal be without a wiener? And then there's Hawaiian pizza, which Americans are prone to call "Canadian Bacon and Pineapple" pizza--so is it Hawaiian, or is it Canadian?

I suppose we have to call food something. I'll be calling my chili Hawaiian-American-Mexican Chili, and it was actually pretty good. What will you call it?

What I threw in the pot:

1 can chunked pineapple (for the Hawaiians)
1 can kidney beans and 1 can black beans (for the Mexicans)
1 small can of tomato sauce
2 chopped tomatoes (fresh from Uncle Ken's garden)
1 green onion, chopped
A few fistfuls of corn (for the Americans)
Ginger (because I read somewhere that it went well with pineapple)
Chili powder

If only I had added hot dogs. Then it could have been Viennese, too!


  1. Come to think, we've had beans and pineapple on the same table before--at Andrew's parents' place...but I always had 'beans' and 'pineapple, not 'beans and pineapple.'

  2. Cumin tastes good in chili too. And that could be like Indian or something. Also, I would have to say that I think Koreans think that if a food has corn in it then it must be more American too. Maybe cause corn originated from the New World?

    It is always fun to make a recipe your own!

  3. Would never have thought to put the two together. Good job being creative! I kind of miss our Russia meals with Emily as head cook... good times...

  4. well, Billy deems your meal...
    "warm salsa" because he says that without meat... it is not chili at all...
    Perhaps that is the rednek in him speaking????

  5. Ha. You should have 'American style' hamburgers in England. They almost always have spaghetti sauce on them. I just kinda look quizically at the menu and go for something less 'American' and more 'normal.'