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Sorry turkey, but chili cook-offs are the new Friendsgiving

Just one of the chilis at the chili cook-off.
Just one of the chilis at the chili cook-off. (Jack Roskopp)

There are so many things to love about this time of year, including Friendsgiving, which is when a group of friends gathers together to celebrate Thanksgiving.

“Friendsgivings” really seemed like they took off in the past five or so years, as groups of millennials had their own little celebrations.

It’s basically just a potluck, but with the traditional (and sometimes not-so-traditional) Thanksgiving fixings.

As a living and breathing millennial myself, I have attended a Friendsgiving, and I’ve even hosted one. And while they are super fun and a great excuse to load up on mashed potatoes and stuffing, it’s sometimes boring, having to eat a Thanksgiving meal multiple times during the month of November.

Thanksgiving food is undoubtedly delicious, but there MUST be a way to celebrate the fall season with your friends that still involves food but isn’t a boring potluck ... right?

I thought it was impossible, but then I got invited to a chili cook-off by a friend from high school -- and it changed everything.

At first, I was a little apprehensive, because how different can chilis taste?

But oh boy, was I ever wrong.

There were 10 different chilis that were made, and we were able to try all of them and pick our favorites. While I made a more traditional chili, my friends really outdid themselves with using different meats (like pulled chicken or pulled pork), exotic and spicy peppers and flavorful seasonings. While there were 10 Crockpots full of chili, none of them tasted the same.

I also went into this party thinking about how boring it was going to be, just eating chili all night. Luckily, most of us planned ahead and brought some side dishes, like classic cornbread, spicy chicken wings and tons of desserts. It was just the right amount of food.

Plus, having this kind of gathering with friends in mid-October, we were able to hold it outdoors and enjoy the nice fall weather before it gets even colder around Thanksgiving (well, depending on where you live).

What really surprised me is that I wasn’t the only person I knew who attended a chili cook-off this year. The same weekend I attended one, I saw two other friends on social media also attend a chili cook-off, so clearly, this is becoming more of a thing.

Granted, I’m sure that Friendsgivings will still happen this year, especially since it may have been a while since you’ve seen some friends, but if you’re looking for an alternative, or just an excuse to get all your friends together to eat, drink and be merry, a chili cook-off is a great choice.


About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.