At this time of year, Collis Patio dining is a no-go. The tables are put away, the benches are frozen over, and your hands must stay in constant motion to prevent freezing. But those struggles haven’t stopped us over Winter Carnival.

On Saturday, Phi Delta Alpha fraternity put on the third annual Chili Cook Off, allowing student groups, Greek houses, and any other interested individuals to enter in their homemade chili to the all you can eat affair. For a donation to Fisher House, which benefits injured and wounded veterans’ families, you were given a small red cup and the freedom to roam around the patio trying as many chilis as you could handle. With dozens of entries ranging from meat-laden to vegetarian to the cleverly titled “Bean There, Done That,” you were guaranteed to find at least one that you wanted to keep going back to.


Photo by Sharon Cho

The event conveniently began near the tail end of the annual Human Dog Sled Races, so spectators and participants decked out in their flair could warm up with a hearty meal after an exhausting afternoon in the snow.


Photo by Sharon Cho

Here at Spoon, we were determined to take top prize in the people’s hearts and made a delicious BBQ Veggie Chili, filled with beans, peppers, tomatoes, and the secret ingredient: barbeque sauce. And, since we know that a successful chili is really all about the fixin’s, we made a batch of fresh cornbread muffins for dunking. We also crumbled up some of the muffins, tossed them with olive oil, and baked them for a crunchy cornbread crouton option. As soon as we set those out front, we couldn’t keep people away from our table.


Photo by Sharon Cho

Unfortunately, when the information email said to make a “family sized pot of chili,” we took that to mean your average four-person household on any Wednesday night. What we really needed was enough chili for Thanksgiving dinner with Octomom’s family. The event began at 3pm, and we were scraping an empty pot within twenty minutes.


Photo by Sharon Cho

So while some may consider that a failure on our part to make enough, we’ll just keep arguing that our chili was just too good. Either way, you’ll find out next year when we come back for round two.