“Food should be fun.”

This morning I had to make a quick run to the grocery store to pick up my chili ingredients. My friends are coming over for chili, cornbread and some after dinner games. Right now the chili is happily bubbling ever so slightly on the stove. I’ll make the cornbread later then set the table and put out the fixings. I don’t like beans so my chili has no beans. You purists may cringe but my house, my chili!

I wish it were colder as I always think of chili as one of those warm you up hearty sort of meals. It is 45° and a beautiful day.

We never ate chili when I was a kid. My father was a meat and potatoes guy, and that’s what we ate for dinner most nights though my mother did add a vegetable or two. Spaghetti was about as exotic as my father’s dinner ever got and even that was a bit gross. He ate his spaghetti with stewed tomatoes on top, the way his mother, the worse cook in the world, used to make it. My mother made regular spaghetti with a meat sauce for herself and us. My father also had other strange tastes. He wouldn’t eat garlic except on garlic bread with his shrimp scampi. I used to cook a roast pork and hide the garlic slices in slits on the sides of the roast. He loved it until he caught my mother doing the same thing. She took out the garlic. Once I cooked the potatoes in the same pan as I had mushrooms and decided to leave the small pieces of mushroom to give the potato a different flavor. The mashed potatoes were a bit gray. My dad wanted to know why. I told them they were Eastham potatoes. He accepted my story and ate them happily even though he didn’t like mushrooms.

My father’s eyes served as his taste buds. If it didn’t look good, he wouldn’t eat it. No matter how much coaxing we did, he just wouldn’t try newe foods. I remember once we were eating hommos, and he mentioned it looked like wallpaper paste. Nope, he never did try it.

My uncle had a Korean wife and she cooked once for my family. My father ate only the food which looked a litttle like fried won tons with a filling. That looked familiar to him so he figured it was worth a try. The rest was way out of his comfort zone.

I tried to get my parents to visit me in Ghana. I never thought about the food. I just wanted them to see where I lived and how wonderful Ghana was. Thinking it over now, I guess my father would have been fine at breakfast with his eggs and toast, but he would have had chicken every single night, especially if he had come shopping with me. I’m laughing now at the idea of my father using his hand to pull off a chunk of t-zed, dip it in his soup bowl then eat it. Nope, it never would have happened.

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15 Comments on ““Food should be fun.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    I do like a good chilli and I’ve tried to bake corn bread but I can’t say I was successful 🙂 🙂

    I always try every kind of food at least one time and most of what I’ve tried has been rather good. But I have to admit that jellyfish soup is rather nasty 🙂 Tastes much like how burning rubber smells 🙂 🙂 Dried yak meat is rather nice if there’s nothing else to eat 🙂 But I can’t for my life understand how people can say tofu tastes good? It doesn’t taste anything 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      You’d love this chili-it came our perfectly after cooking all day.

      I would never try jellyfidh doup, and I try most foods. It even sounds disgusting.

      It isn’t the tofu which has a taste. It’s everything you add to it which gives flavor to the dish.

  2. Rick Oztown Says:

    Christer, I guess the tofu in connection with the other things tastes good. My kids were raised on toasted homemade whole wheat bread, homegrown alfalfa sprouts, and tofu sandwiches with a little mayonnaise. They love that to this day and they’re in their 30s now.

    But I love not only that but FRIED tofu with other stuff in the dish. Yumm. Being from the south means everything tastes better fried…like OKRA.

    • Kat Says:

      I agree about the tofu. It is flavorless.

      I don’t think I’d like that sandwich, without the tofu maybe.

      I actually like okra!

    • olof1 Says:

      I don’t think anyone knew what tofu was when I was a child 🙂 I have tried it many times but I ‘d rather have something that actually have a taste of its own 🙂

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I laughed when I read your father’s version of spaghetti. My mother had a version of American chop suey that I still think is gross. It was macaroni, ground beef, onion and a big can of tomatoes with the liquid. That was it. Not even oregano. Blech. I did eventually get my mother to use oregano but that was the extent of her foray into the world of spice. I don’t count using a packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing powder on potato salad. 🙂

    There was a thin, thin, thin, coating of snow on the ground this morning. Only the second snow fall of the season. All melted away now.

    Enjoy the chili and the company!

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My mother made the best American chop suey. It was another of those inexpensive dishes which stretched to feed a family of six, but we loved it.

      My mother became a far fancier cook once we were grown and she had adult children who loved all sorts of foods. She had a great spice cabinet. Your mother sounds like my grandmother!

      My sister said she too had a thin layer of snow but it got warm quickly and the snow disappeared. We had rain.

  4. Bob Says:

    When I was growing up my father would try anything that didn’t bite him back. Both he and my mother grew up in immigrant households from Eastern Europe. My grandparents eat boiled meat and potatoes along with borsht. My mother thought that paprika was a spice. My father took us out to eat at Chinese (Cantonese American), Italian (Sicilian), Mexican (Tex-Mex) and Kosher style Delicatessen.

    In the 70s we ventured out to try Hunan, Northern Italian, Continental and even Mexico City style restaurants. I contend that our losing the Viet Nam war and accepting all those refugees improved the quality of Chinese food from coast to coast. In 1980 I was staying in a Hotel in Ft. Smith Arkansas. There was a Chinese restaurant across the street. The food was excellent. When I asked the owner how he decided to open a Chinese restaurant in Ft. Smith he gave me the following reply. When he arrived in the US the government sent him and hundreds of other refugees to the closed Ft. Chaffee Army base in Ft. Smith. When he left the camp he decided that Ft. Smith looked like a nice town in which to settle and they didn’t have a Chinese restaurant.

    Unfortunately, the Kosher Style Delicatessens are disappearing at an alarming rate along with the generation that was brought up on that style of food along with the move to more healthy eating.

    A bowl of chili would be nice tonight since today has been overcast with cold drizzle and rain.

    • Kat Says:

      I don’t think I have ever eaten borsht. We did have Chinese food, but I was older. Before that my parents told us it wasn’t good for kids to eat, and we believed them.

      I love all sorts of foods. In Africa I first had Indian food and Middle Eastern and both became favorites. Thai is tops on my list of late, and I love Mexican. Despite having a very unvaried diet as a kid, I was willing to try all sorts of foods, still am.

      The chili was delicious. The corn bread was a good touch.

  5. Zoey & Me Says:

    I love chili. I use a recipe that won the cook off at the Redskins tailgate party at then RFK Stadium 1975. It’s made with sirloin cut in strips and yes, dark kidney beans, lots of cumin. My kids grew up with it and make it themselves especially in cold weather. We love it. I think that’s what I’ll make for Sunday dinner. Thanks!

    • Kat Says:

      I’m impressed with your culinary skills! I like the idea of the sirloin strips but I’d have to nix the kidney beans!

      Enjoy your dinner!

  6. Marchbanks Says:

    A chili purist would applaud your decision to leave beans out of the chili. A real purist wouldn’t even include tomatoes.

    Serving beans at the same table as chili is fine. Mixing beans and chili in your bowl after both are cooked is even acceptable. The part that isn’t all right is cooking beans in the same pot as the chili. Doing it will get you slapped into next week by CASI and ICS both.

    • Kat Says:

      I would offend the real purist as I do use tomato sauce.

      No beans appear on my table or ever in my chili. I am not a fan of beans.

  7. Bill S. Says:

    The place where I stayed several times in Japan had a soup Nazi. When I first passed on the miso soup, she exclaimed “You eat Japanese soup! You eat Japanese soup!”. Needless to say, I ate Japanese soup. Out in the country, Fukushima Prefecture, I went to a food shack, a tiny “restaurant” , where I had the pleasure of tasting boiled pig intestines. Yummy!

    In Tafo, Ghana I was invited to a staff lunch at the house of one of the tutors, where we had land-snail stew. I think I have already mentioned the two weeks in a row of goat stew for supper in Bolga….

    • Kat Says:

      I think I would have tried the soup too just to quiet the soup Nazi down. I really can’t think I’d try it on my own.

      When I was in Ghana last summer, I saw more people along the sides of the road selling land snails. I don’t remember ever seeing them before or maybe I was just crammed on the bus away from the windows. The snails were huge and looked disgusting. I like escargot, but I’m not so sure about those snails.

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