Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
To carry her weekly column in your
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Online Since 1999
My Chili Recipe
I was supposed to make chili this weekend to take to the office
today. What can I do? It’s time to go to work --- too late to
cook now. They are counting on me, and there may not be enough
chili without mine!
Let me explain, the employees where I work had decided to have a
"chili cook-off" at the office. Each unit would have
one person cook a pot of chili and bring it to the office for a
chili potluck. Only because no one else from my section
volunteered, I said I would do it.
I went home Friday and promptly forgot all about it until about
15 minutes before time to leave for work on Monday morning.
“Think I could call in sick? I can't go empty handed. I don't
know what to do!”
“Could you buy some chili?”
“Where? There are no restaurants open at this hour of the
But... maybe I could go to the grocery store and buy a couple of
cans of prepared chili. It will not be homemade, but I can put
it in a dish and pretend that I made it.
So, I did the only thing I could do. I headed for Wal-Mart; open
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Not much business at 6:00 in the morning. Piles of boxes rolled
down the aisles on carts. Stock boys crawled around on the floor
around trying to restock the shelves. I rushed to where I
thought the chili would be, daring anyone to get in my way,
impatiently looking for what I needed.
I thought I knew exactly where it was, but it was not with the
canned beans, not with soup, not with the ethnic foods. I was
nearly frantic! I finally found it hiding out on the aisle with
prepared foods. I grabbed several of he largest cans I could
find and ran to the front of the store.
"I can take you here," said a checker. Then I
realized, no need to use the self-checkout lane. The regular
checkout lanes were wide open. No waiting lines at this hour of
Finally, arriving at the office, I realized I hadn't thought
about how heavy this stuff would be. I had my crock-pot and
electric can opener in one hand, and the mammoth cans of chili
in the other, not to mention my purse, which kept sliding off my
shoulder. It's only a block from the parking garage, but it
seemed as though I trudged miles. My arms were dragging the
ground by the time I got to the office.
I snuck into a vacant cubical, opened the cans of chili and put
them in the pot. I wrapped up the empty cans in the plastic
grocery bag and hid the evidence in the bottom of a trashcan.
"Well, that takes care of that!" I only hope it
doesn't taste so bad that no one will eat it.
Instead of voting, they decided that the boss would judge of the
"cook-off", eating a bit of each kind and deciding
which was best.
So, the judge tried each pot. I waited for impended doom,
praying she wouldn't mention that one pot of chili tasted like a
tin can. But she pointed to my pot and said, "That chili is
Wait! Oh, no! I decided I'd better just keep my mouth shut at
this point and be a gracious winner. Fortunately, there was no
prize so I didn't have to feel too guilty about using canned
chili instead of making my own.
Everyone had to try my chili to see how good it was. When they
asked for the recipe, I just shrugged and said that it was
nothing special, looking secretive. So far no one has persisted.
Little do they know, my prizewinning chili has only two
ingredients: a can of chili and a can opener.
Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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