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St. James Hosts Third Annual Chili Cook Off

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The crowd at the St. James Chili Cook Off was invited to “eat all you can taste,” but some of the 10 varieties of chili disappeared sooner than others.

The grand winner in the cook off was Sue Squire, who said, “It’s really embarrassing. My recipe called for cannelloni beans but I ran out so I added some creamed corn.” The feast started at 6 p.m. Saturday and by 7 p.m. all of Squire’s chili was gone.

Places for second and third prize were tied between Andrea Good, whose chili was mild with meat but no beans, and Joe Ely, who attributed his success to using Newcastle Beef.

Competitor Nancy Falls-Aronchick said, “I use curry and red curry vinegar. My parents were really good cooks and chili was one of the things they made. But in college I started adding curry because my roommate suggested it. She was born in China, raised in India and educated in London.”

Councilman Bruce Buchholtz, an annual competitor still chasing the gold, said: “I make the sauce separately and simmer it for three or four hours. The beans only go in at the end. That way they stay firm.”

The evening’s grand finale comprised a few children’s events. The champion of the boys' pie-eating contest, where kids devoured small chocolate pudding and whipped cream pies with no hands allowed, was Sean Ely, winning for the second year in a row.

The jelly-bean contest, “You Suck: A Minute to Win It,” involving lifting the greatest number of jelly beans through a straw and moving them to another cup within 60 seconds, also was won by Ely.

Resting on his laurels after having won first prize in the chili contest last year, Eric Pooley provided background music this year, along with a few friends.

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