Vol.XVII No.IX Pg.8
November 1980

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A friend from east of the Mississippi told me about his introduction to Texas chili. "My mother made vegetable soup, sprinkled a little commercial seasoning on it, and called it 'chili.' For years I thought I was fond of chili, and had eaten a lot of it. What a shock to learn I had never tasted the genuine article."

For a while after the experience he probably couldn't taste anything else. Many underprivileged Americans, living in less favored parts of our country, do not know that "chilies" are red-hot peppers; "con carne" says "with meat;" and "y frijoles" means beans have been added. It is supposed to sear your lips, melt your fillings, and raise steam in your stomach.

Of course Texans have their failings too (wash my mouth with soap). A ranching friend told of traveling through Tennessee, and ordering ham and eggs for breakfast. Said the ham was firm, very salty, and "had some sort of greasy, red-brown gravy we were told to put over our biscuits." The truth is (says this Kentuckian) my friend had never tasted real ham with it red-eye gravy. He thought that water-cured rubber he had been eating was ham. In such cases, what you don't know may not hurt you, but it certainly can deprive you.

Perhaps all of us go through life with some unfounded assumptions. We may think we dislike a thing we have never really tried; or approve of something that has been falsely represented to us. And we can become so accustomed to imitations we may lack appreciation for the real thing. The moderns who equate "live-in" and sex promiscuity with freedom and happiness are to be pitied. They ridicule and shun "old-fashioned" virtues of marriage because they do not know the rich taste of the genuine article.

In religion it is especially important that we search the scriptures for unadulterated truth. Sectarianism, materialism, and out-right hypocrisy have caused many to think they have partaken of Christianity and disliked it; when in reality they have never tasted the real thing. Rejecting the imitation is only part of the job. We must not "cop out" at this point. Unless we strive for the genuine, we can never know its eternal blessing.