Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cooking for myself

Catering to one's own desires when deciding what to cook the family for dinner is not for the timid of heart.

Case in point: Tonight, or today, rather, because it is an all-day affair, I cooked my Grandpa's Chili with cornbread for dinner. I love this chili. It's not a spicy chili--it's more savory. And it stirs up all kinds of memories for me--memories of pulling into my grandma and grandpa's snowy Idaho driveway in the dark and walking into the warm kitchen, with warm arms to greet me and warm chili to fill my stomach. But none of the other 4 people who live in this house with me have these memories and none of them seem to like this chili. But I had a ham bone and I wanted to make this chili. So, I labored over my chili, called the troops to dinner, and I tried to focus on the smell and the taste of it and ignore these comments/actions:

Mister: "Oh no! Chili! With tomatoes! Mom, will you pick out all of my tomatoes?"
Me: "Nope. You can do it yourself. There's not that many."
Mister wails with despair.

Sweetie and Mister: start fighting over which piece of cornbread they get--both want the middle piece. In the meantime, J takes the middle piece, so they start fighting over who gets the piece on the blue plate instead of the green plate. With all of the fighting, H realizes that he does not actually have cornbread and he starts to shriek.

Me: "H, you can't have the cornbread. It's got eggs in it and you're allergic. Sorry, buddy." More crying until I leave my own quickly cooling cornbread and chili to make H a toasted English muffin with butter and jelly.
J: "Cornbread? This is corn cake, that's what. It doesn't even look like bread." And he leaves most of the desired-middle-piece sitting on his plate to throw away.
Sweetie: "I want an English muffin!!!"
J: "I need to add more chili powder to this."

On the 3rd spoonful of chili that I try to maneuver into H's mouth, he decides he will join the ranks of the chili-despisers. He throws his milk, his spoon, and tries to throw his chili, but every once and a while, I'm actually quick enough to stave off that particular disaster. Thank heavens. H begins shaking his head "no" so fast and furious that I am afraid he will give himself whiplash or shaken-1-year-old syndrome, so I give up the chili-feeding efforts and replace them with yogurt and pears. In the meantime, J leaves me to issue threats about what will happen should the little people not each their chili while he goes to make some calls for church.

Mister: "Can I be done?"
Me, looking at his untouched chili: "Nope. Eat your dinner."
Loud sighs.
Sweetie: "I want an English muffin!!!"
Me: "No. I made you chili and cornbread. I'm not making you anything else."

And so on. And so forth. So, I don't know if the whole cooking-for-myself thing is actually worth it. Especially because I ended up eating 2 full bowls and 2 pieces of cornbread and now I feel completely stuffed. But in case you want to give the cooking-for-yourself thing a try, here's my Grandpa's Chili. Don't believe the 4 other people I live with. It truly is amazing chili. Try it and find out (or just come by--I have a whole stockpot waiting!)

Grandpa's Chili
1 qt red beans. Put in stock pot, bring to a boil, take off the heat, sit overnight, drain and refill in the morning. Put on to simmer with:
2 Tbsp giner
2 (14 oz each) cans chili con carne
smoked pork shank--wash and drop in whole (I use the leftover ham bone or sometimes a package of bacon)
1 large onion, chopped
2 heaping spoonfuls of spiced, minced garlic
4 lbs hamburger, browned (I don't use quite this much)

Take the pork shank out after 3 hours. You can cut up the meat and put it back in if you want.
After 4 hours, sprinkle a lot of chili power (to taste), and add:
2 c ketchup
1 pt tomatoes or tomato soup
2/3 c brown sugar (to taste)
cube of butter (I don't add this one--Grandpa, what were you thinking?!)
After you add the ketchup/tomatoes, watch it because it will burn easily.


reves said...

This cracks me up--especially because it could describe dinner at our house (I made soup three nights running because I felt like it--did I tell you I'm expecting? I'm at the tail end of the first trimester. Luckily, my husband is a good sport when it comes to food, but my kids not so much. I figure it's good for them.)

bluestocking mama said...

No, I didn't know that you're expecting! I read your blog. How did I miss it? Congrats, Rosalyn! That's so great!

Madsen Family said...

c, too funny and too true to life. josh, thankfully, will eat anything but will, on the otherhand, will only eat certain things with a forceful hand. and cornbread cake? sign me up! someday, when i'm brave, i will try this recipe. i've always wanted a good chili recipe!

draeves said...

We haven't said anything on the blog (yet)--so you didn't miss anything there.

Tommy said...

What, no butter?! I usually up the ante to two cubes. No wonder why J complains.