10/20/13 — Really Chili is Saturday forecast

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Really Chili is Saturday forecast

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 20, 2013 1:50 AM

Chili competitors look out -- TA Loving Spoonful knows there's a target on its back, but its cookers say they are ready with an even better recipe than last year's award-winning formula.

"We sure hope we win this year and bring home first place again," team organizer Mike Mitchell said. "It feels good to go out there knowing we won it last year, and to try to bring it back again."

The only hint he would provide about this year's secret recipe is that it contains a lot of ground beef and a lot of different kinds of peppers, making it hot and spicy.

The seventh annual event will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Center Street Jam parking lot to benefit the Community Soup Kitchen.

Each team comes up with a name and decorations for its booth. The chili chefs are required to cook their chili at the event.

There will be first- through third-place awards for the best tasting chili and the best booth. The People's Choice Award will go to the team that raises the most money.

"Each year we see a lot of friendly competition among the chili teams," said Soup Kitchen board president Rosalyn Lomax. "They do a lot of teasing back and forth between tables. That's fun to watch."

It's also fun, she said, to see what sort of name and booth design each team comes up with.

"Several years ago we had a beauty salon that had hair-raising chili," she said. "The doctors from Immediate Care have germ-kicking chili and Zaxby's has its really chili chicken.

"One year the Goldsborough Bridge Battlefield group came in Civil War clothing and had a small fort for its booth. They had cannon ball chili."

For its part, the TA Loving team found a unique way to combine both construction and rock-n-roll.

"We call ourselves the Loving Spoonful because we are TA Loving and there was a rock group in the 1960s called The Lovin' Spoonful," Mitchell said. "Our name is a combination of these two things. And you also eat chili with a spoon."

Another long-time competitor, Center Stage Theatre, also uses what it knows to make its name and booth each year.

"We started to support the Soup Kitchen and because it gives us an opportunity to promote our upcoming shows," said Center Stage Theatre's Vincent Bridgers, the leader of the Bah-Ja Humbug team. "Since we do 'A Christmas Carol' every year now, it lets us promote that show and get cast members involved."

Of course while the booth award and the People's Choice Award are nice, the real bragging rights go to the winners of the taste test.

"We hope to come in the top three with our chili this year," Bridgers said. "I think our chili is the best, but we're going to up our game this year and see if we can't get a little more kick to it."

The chili, though, varies from team to team, making it an enjoyable experience for those people attending, Mrs. Lomax said.

"Some are really hot, the kind you have to take just a little taste of, then get something to drink quickly," she said. "Then some are a little sweeter."

Those not cooking chili, but who just want a taste can purchase a ticket for $5, with children 5 and younger free.

Also at the event, chili earrings, necklaces and dishtowels will be for sale.

The chili challenge is the Community Soup Kitchen's only fundraiser. Money raised goes to operate the soup kitchen.

Entry forms are available at www.community soupkitchen.org or by calling the soup kitchen at 919-731-3939.