The day that I organized Mom's recipes by food category instead of the fact they are Mom's was a stupid day.—
Brandy Heineman (@brandyhei) October 22, 2012
A few years ago, my sister and I participated in a Chili Cookoff. We both entered “Mom’s Chili.” And before you ask:
- Yes, everyone knew we were sisters—or if not, they found out that day.
- Yes, we both used the exact same recipe. We’ve only got one Mom, after all.
- Yes, the whole thing was a bit elaborate for a gag.
- Yes, it was totally worth it.
We made sure our crockpots and entry cards displaying our names and “MOM’S CHILI” were lined up next to each other for maximum effect. The confused looks we got were the essence of hilarity. Then again, we are a bit warped when it comes to humor.
The two pots of Mom’s Chili were close indeed, but not exactly the same. My sister and I took two different approaches. She bought normal ingredients (stew meat, ground chuck, etc.) and made hers the night before so the flavors could meld and develop. I spent a fortune (filet tips, ground sirloin, etc.) and made mine that morning, so it would be hot and fresh.
She took the yellow ribbon. I didn’t place. (I’m not bitter, though—she earned it!)
What’s the lesson here? I can think of several.
- Time is better than money.
- High quality meat is nice, but the flavor is in the fat.
- When cooking with tomatoes and spices, remember it’s always better the next day.
- My mother’s recipe now officially produces “prizewinning chili.”
And lastly, don’t file Mom’s Chili under “Chilis & Stews.” File it under “Mom,” or “Home,” or “Family Recipes,” because sometimes, it’s not Chili you really want anyway.
We’ll be back to the normal Tuesday posting schedule next week! Sorry for the disruption!
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