A Word about Chili Rellenos

Chili Rellenos. It’s a risk to order them, because they might be perfect and they might just as easily and quite more probably be less than desirable.

I am eating them today at this hole in the wall – literally, on the back side of a string of coffee shops and boutiques. I decided to take the risk; it paid off. Just the right blend of flavors and textures. Perfection.

I remember when Robb began his pursuit of chili rellenos. He fell in love with them somewhere, when he was to lunch with some work buddies or on a business trip. (I can hear him now: “Tricia, call them my colleagues, please. Not my buddies.”) The point is, I wasn’t with him for the christening meal.

He came home with this planned passion: he would learn to make chili rellenos. He researched it. He practiced. He learned how to steam the peppers and peel them. He learned what to wrap them in to fry them.

We talked about getting a deep fryer to help him with his pursuit of the perfect relleno, but I sort of had this aversion to deep fryers only because the kitchen of our first home was forever speckled and stained with brown oil spots from the spitting of the deep fryer from the previous owners.

(It occurs to me now that this may have more to do with the home owners, rather than with the deep fryer itself.)

All of his notes are in my cookbook. His recipes and variations, his tries and attempts, his notes on what worked and what didn’t. By all the evidence, it seems he literally died trying.

Tricia Lott Williford

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