This is my favorite stage: I love seeing the different layers of ingredients, before everything is mixed together.
In my world, you can't have too much cumin.
Whenever my mom served chili, my dad used to trot out a lame old pun: "Chili today and hot tamale [tomorrow]," he'd say. It's not a great pun, but hey, it's a family tradition.
A sprinkle of Mexican four-cheese blend, some green onions, and life is good.