I married Ken for his heart and his mind, sure, but a close third was his chili recipe. For chili or for worse, I say, and listen, it is just not every day a guy wrecks the kitchen to make 85 quarts of chili and then cleans up after himself. Who is this man? Where did he even come from?
It goes like this. I come home from the store with five cans of diced tomatoes, four pounds of ground beef, three pints of beef broth, two onions.
Chili? I ask, and the ask is more of a beg, more of a quiet, seeping desperation for a bowl that tastes like my mother’s kitchen and day trips to Cincinnati with my grandparents – to the bowling alley! to putt!putt! to Skyline if we’ve got a coupon!
He smiles, and agrees, and then reminds me that I’ve brought home beef broth instead of beef stock, and when you’re back at the store could you grab some more bay leaves?
And so Bee and I put our boots back on and head to the store for the missing ingredients, random texts trickling in as we walk the aisles. “More cumin, please!” “Garlic!!!!!!” “Where’s the cocoa powder?” and then “NM, found it!”
By the time the ingredients are procured, it’s dark. Bee and I brush our teeth, read about Jonah, switch to warmer socks, turn out the lights. And when we wake up the next morning, the kitchen is gleaming and there’s a 4 quart stockpot of ready-made chili in the fridge.
It’s love, that’s my only word for it. Love, love, love.
Ken’s recipe is a secret to all of us, but I have it on good authority that this one’s similar. Just in case you want to bless your spouse, bless your neighbor, bless your teenager, bless your mother – there is no one that does not love this chili.
And in our house, there is no one that does not love-love-love its maker.