Twenty years is a long time for any annual fund-raising event, but a chili cookoff? That's a lot of beans under the bridge.
The Great Chili Cookoff has been raising money for Mobile Meals of Toledo for an astonishing 20 years, and it will do so again on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Stranahan Theater.
To give you an idea of how long that has been, consider this: Twenty years ago, the most popular format for music was still the cassette tape. The Tailhook scandal (remember that?) broke out, Beanie Babies were all the rage, Beavis and Butthead hit the airwaves for the first time, and ESPN only had one channel.
And the chili is still flowing.
Saturday's event is an opportunity to taste the best chili that can be dished up by dozens of competitors, from corporate teams to media teams to amateurs. If you are a little wary of eating chili made by amateurs, don't despair: Restaurants will also be participating. You can vote for your favorite teams to win the People's Choice Award, while a Judge's Choice Award will be determined by a panel of major celebrities, minor celebrities, and me, the guy who thought "that's a lot of beans under the bridge" would be a good turn of phrase.
Chili is the biggest part of the show, but it's not the only part. There will also be salsa tasting, music, and an exhibition of classic cars sponsored by the Black Swamp Cruisers (last year's cars included just about the sweetest T-Bird you'd ever want to see).
Admission is free, but if you want to vote for the People's Choice Award you'll have to vote with your dollars. And all the net proceeds go to Mobile Meals of Toledo, which delivers meals to the homes of the elderly, ill, disabled, and homebound.
The event will be BYOA. Bring your own antacid.
Hurka, Kolbasz, and Szalona -- sounds like a particularly Toledo firm of personal-injury attorneys, doesn't it? You know, "If you've been injured in an accident, come to the firm of Hurka, Kolbasz, and Szalona. We'll fight for you."
In actuality, of course, Hurka is a boiled pork sausage, kolbasz is a smoked sausage, and szalona (sometimes spelled szalonna) is a sandwich made with bacon cooked over an open flame, a delicacy locally called "Hunky turkey."
And if you already knew what these three foods were, then you probably also know that the Hungarian Club of Toledo is holding a traditional pork dinner on March 31. A cash bar will open at 5 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m.
On the menu will be kolbasz, hurka, szalona, breaded pork, sweet and sour cabbage, parsley mixed salad, and Hungarian pastries, along with coffee or tea.
The cost is $20 in advance, $22 at the door, and because seating is limited, reservations are recommended. To reserve a spot, call 419-874-1060. The club is at 224 Paine Ave. in East Toledo.
It was sad when the great ship went down.
Next month marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, the greatest maritime disaster in history. To mark the occasion, more than one local organization is holding a Titanic dinner party, re-creating the food served on board the ship on the fatal night of April 14, 1912.
The idea is less morbid than you might think. The Titanic has always held a fascination that seems to be almost universal, and besides, the food served on the ship (at least in first class) was good. Really, really good.
We're talking about an hors d'oeuvre of garlic and herb-encrusted scallops on the half shell. We're talking cream of barley soup, a fish course of poached salmon with mousseline sauce, cucumber, and fresh dill; and an entree of filet mignon Lili (topped with foie gras and truffle, drizzled with cognac). We're talking roast breast of squab, an asparagus salad (with a champagne-saffron vinaigrette, natch), and desserts of sweets, ice cream, and pastries, plus one final cheese course.
The Maritime Academy of Toledo Foundation and the Toledo Club will be joining forces to hold just such an event, including a string quartet presumably playing "Nearer, My God, to Thee," on April 14, but here's the bad news: It's already sold out.
But fret not. At least one other Titanic night is scheduled in town: A Night to Remember, a Titanic-based dinner and ball held to benefit the Greater Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross. This meal will be "in the spirit of the last dinner served on the Titanic," served up by cooks at the Pinnacle, complete with live period music. Tickets for the April 14 ball are $100 and $125 (for seating at the Captain's Table), with doors opening at 6 p.m. and dinner being served at 7 p.m. This event will be held at Central Park West, 3141 Central Park West Dr. For tickets, call 419-329-2900.
Movie buffs will recognize the event's name, A Night to Remember, as also being the title of a 1958 film that is regarded by some as the best movie about the tragedy.
And finally, a couple of quick, food-related notes.
The Williams-Sonoma store in Westfield Franklin Park Mall will hold a cooking exhibition today at 10 a.m., repeated Monday at 7 p.m., showing how to make sweet and savory tarts. On March 25 (at 10 a.m.) and March 26 (at 7 p.m.), the demonstration will be about healthy cooking for kids. Both classes are free, though seating is limited. For reservations or information, call 419-475-6368.
And Tuesday at 6 p.m., Kris Johnson of the Weston A. Price Foundation will lead a class called Nourishing a Healthy Brain. This seminar will discuss how nutrition can protect delicate brain tissues and counteract the effects of violence, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. The meeting will be at Grace Lutheran Church, 4441 Monroe St. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.
Items for Morsels may be submitted up to two weeks before an event to firstname.lastname@example.org.