So today is Father’s Day 2019. I took some time to make Dad’s Chili. It is a version of Michigan Chili and is usually made without spices. I can’t handle that so I cook in a small amount of onion (say half of one cut small), half a green pepper chopped, one can of Hatch chili cut up–we are in the west here, so we need to include the local zing–1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, some smoked paprika, and I all but just show it a bottle of hot cayenne pepper. I added some garlic salt and pepper as a sprinkle to the pan and enough oil to fry the onion and peppers and spices. This all done in a chili pot. Dad would just use salt and no oil and well only ground beef. Me, I use a few more things. Then break up the raw ground beef–not the expensive kind as that would not be Dad’s style and maybe a pound and 1/4–into the pot. I brown the meat and mix it into the spices and pepper and onion.
While that is ongoing I open the cans. Kidney beans, large can or two cans, drained. Corn from a can, drained, not frozen as frozen will shock the pan, and this is not Dad’s recipe but mine so yes corn. Two cans or one large can of stewed tomatoes, not drained–should be cheap, not organic. Then the base, a full box of good tomato soup. Dad would use cheap Cambell’s and add water. This should all fit in the pot and be wet enough to cook. Careful as it can burn if you don’t stir it. Get it boiling and then turn it down to warm. Service. Makes a lot.
So that is how I remember my father today with a bowl of chili.
The pictures are from long ago now. The slightly out-of-focus image is my last photo of dad (Bob Wild). In the other photo, Gene Wild is standing at the Private Sale, I believe, back in the 1970s at Wild’s Furniture and Appliances (“We beat city prices!”), and Great Granddad (Edward Wild) is standing with my then very young mother in the 1960s visiting us in Massachusetts in some colonial setting the I vaguely remember.
And we must cover my Mother’s father, of course, Arnold Bailey. This is Nadine, my grandmother, and Arnold in front of their car back in 1968. My best memories of Nadine, I did not know my grandfather well and only met him a few times, is that she cooked well and cheated at cards. I learned to watch for the signs and change my plan when playing with her. I never thought it unfair that she cheated, it made it more fun to win against her.
And as we are just seemly to remember things this Father’s Day, how about the way I always think of my sister, on a horse competing. This is 1982.
So have a bowl and remember dad; any dad.