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Seven horrible ways to ruin chili

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7. Too Much Cheese 
I know, I know: This is America, and there's no such thing as too much cheese. Except that there is, and your doctor, your arteries, and your bowl of chili all know that. You're not making a pizza there, chief -- easy on the cheddar. 6. Serve it Over Noodles 
With apologies to Cincinnati, if you serve your chili over pasta, it becomes something else. When I was a kid, we called that Chili Mac -- which is exactly what my junior high school called it too, when they served it for hot lunch with applesauce and limp green beans. And really, once middle schools adopt a dish, that dish is pretty much done in the culinary canon. Look what happened to pizza boats, after all. Never recovered. 5. Make it Vegetarian
 Come on. We don't make fake squash out of meat scraps, and you shouldn't try to pass off textured vegetable protein as meat in my chili. Most any kind of meat will do, but hamburger, as we all know, is the most common.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen