No. This is not a recipe. I’m not that blogger. But – I did make chili for the first time last night. My husbands been lying to me all this time: chili is easy to prepare.
Ok- so- he didn’t lie exactly. I don’t think he’s ever qualified the difficulty of making chili. But for some reason in my mind it’s an art form. I blame that episode of The Simpsons where Homer goes to a chili festival and criticizes everyone’s contribution. I sort of assumed there was more to cooking chili than canned tomatoes and canned beans in a pot.
I swear the only reason my husband knows how to cook is because his mom hates it and he and his siblings had no choice but to learn how to cook as teenagers. My mom, however, cooked a meal every night from scratch and never gave any of us any reason to learn to cook. She is one of those moms who did everything for us, which probably contributes to the fact I’m 33 and still feel like “keeping house” is something I haven’t mastered yet.
My mom is not a braggart chef. Growing up we had tuna noodle casserole topped with crumbled saltines and Kraft American cheese. She’d make tater tot casserole with green beans and occasionally we’d go crazy with “Mexican Night” and refried beans with quesadillas. Beyond this middle American dining fare, she makes the best oven baked chicken I’ve ever eaten and every time I go back home it’s basically the only meal I request.
I have been blossoming in the kitchen as of late. Well, I’ve been trying to cook lately. And half of the time it doesn’t turn out half bad. I’ve even taken over cooking dinner when my husband is home, something I’ve rarely done in our almost seven years of marriage.
I’m trying to take on my moms no nonsense approach. Things made from scratch but nothing insanely challenging. I grow tired of seeing everyone’s perfected meals. Yeah, I too could describe my crockpot meals with pretty adjectives and embellish the effort- “thrown into pot at 7am” turned into “slow cooked for hours to perfection”. See what I did there?
For my birthday this year I asked for the plainest, most sturdy cookbook I knew of: The Betty Crocker Cookbook. Nostalgia played a part in the request: my mom had the same book, although her book was published sometime in the 80’s. Something about having ONE source of recipes makes me feel like cooking is within my realm. There’s one chili recipe in there. I don’t need to find reviews and search through the search engine. There’s no impossibly polished photo of said fare to envy. It’s just there. Chili. Pancakes? Waffles? 20-minute dinners? Betty has you covered with the staples. There’s also tons of tutorials on how to cook.
I love having something solid in my hands when I venture into the kitchen.
My husband laughs at my dependency to this silly cookbook but as far as I’m concerned, its scripture in the kitchen.