Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CHILLY TIME? CHILI TIME! Makes Perfect Sense To Me!

HE GOOD LIFE   THE GOOD LIFE   THE GOOD LIFE   THE GOOD LIFE   THE GOOD LIFE   THE GOOD LIFE

THE WEATHER IS CHILLY AND IT IS A GOOD TIME TO MAKE A POT OF CHILI
Reminds me of my childhood during the Great Depression of the '30s

During the Great Depression of the '30s, Americans of all ages and sexes roamed the countryside, mostly close to the rail road tracks.  Living by the tracks of the B & O Railroad, hoboes were a daily sighting at our house.  Unlike the "homeless" of today, these people were from all walks of life.  Among them were the educated and the business men and women.

Mom always fed them something when they asked.  They were not at all considered to be dangerous, no more than anyone else, although you'd always take care.  Of course, they would steal  you blind, but so would a lot of people in those days.  They had a language of their own:

BLOWED IN THE GLASS - A genuine trustworthy person
BULL - A (hated) railroad policeman
BULLETS - Beans
C, H & D - Cold, Hungry and Dry
CALIFORNIA BLANKETS - Newspapers
CATCH THE WESTBOUND - To die
CANNONBALL - A fast train
DOG'N IT - To ride a bus, usually a Greyhound

I recall one hobo well.  He stopped by our home twice a year for years.  We looked forward to his visit.  He somehow kept himself clean, dressed casual but not dirty, was well educated and had a small, and for the circumstances, successful business.  He made name plates using material he gathered from the road.  He was a great storyteller.  He also cooked.  His name was Paul McIntire.  This very unusual man introduced my family to CHILI, which he made when we furnished the "makin's".  He cooked it out-of-doors in a 5 gallon lard can.

No, this lovely lady is not a hobo.  She is my daughter-in-law, Mary Kay receiving a top nurse award from the Ohio Nursing Association.  She got me to do something that I rarely do.  She got me to measure what I was using to make Corn Chowder.  I love her dearly and would gladly do whatever she asks.

One learns to cook by cooking.  Except when I'm making pies, where a small amount of spices makes a big difference, however, I don't measure what I put in the food.  I just add it to "taste".  Mostly, I get it right.  Mary wanted my "receipt" for my corn chowder so I had to measure what I used.  Now, Mary and granddaughter Jillian makes better corn chowder than me.  Maybe they will give me their "receipt"?

Winter weather has come our way, thankfully without much snow so far.  But the chilly weather has prompted my wife to ask me to make a pot of chili.  It won't be as good as I remember Paul McIntire's but I will have it ready when she gets home from work.  For the first time ever I will measure what I put into my chili..  Should you want to live dangerously and make a pot for yourself, here is how it all comes together for me.

4.98 # of ground beef.  (Cheapest, high fat)  This is the amount that Julie defrosted.
2 Cans of red, kidney beans.  You can make it without beans but what's the point?
2 Cans of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 large green pepper, coarsely chopped and sauted
1 large yellow, cooking onion, coarsely chopped and sauted
4 table spoons chili powder
3 table spoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt (undersalted, we add salt at the table where I use a salt substitute)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon leaf basil
1/2 teaspoon cummin
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup corn starch
2 cans of water
2 packages of splenda (you could use sugar, I don't)

I brown the hamburg, breaking it into small pieces.  I saute the onions and peppers in the hamburg drainings and add them to the hamburg in a 8 quart stock pot.  I disolve the corn starch in one of the cans of water.  I add all other ingredients, stirr well and simmer at a low boil for at least a half hour, stirring often--it will stick to the bottom if you do not take care.  

In addition to salt, Julie will add more chili powder and garlic powder to her bowl of chili.  Garlic powder definitely does not belong in chili as far as I'm concerned.

This makes a gallon and a half of very thick chili that will feed twelve hungry men who eat seconds and thirds.  Eat it with oyster crackers, yes it makes a difference.  Oyster crackers!

The flavor would be greatly enhanced if I had a small red pepper to cut up fine and add to the mix.  I used cayenne but it is not as good.


I had everything I needed to make this chili, except for a fresh green pepper and the crackers.  So you could know the costs, however, I made a trip to the store and bought it.  As you can see on the receipt on the left, it came to $4.84.  The 4.98 lbs. of hamburg was marked down at Sam's to $13.84.  Excluding spices, which we have in bulk, the total cost for at least two weeks of food for Julie and I is $18.68.
That works out to maybe $0.66 per serving.  Good eating, cheap!

And, chili like spaghetti or Dr. Bird cake tastes better after a week or so in the fridge.


BON APPETIT

God Bless You and Yours

GOD BLESS THE USA

No comments: