I love chili, the sort of Americanized version is my favorite, but I will eat and enjoy any kind of chili. Beans. No beans. Mild or body-terrorizing spicy. Red, brown or green. There is nothing that I dislike about chili.
It is also pretty darn nutritious and healthy. Basic broth can be anything of your choosing. Some chili results do not look like they are broth-based, but they are, or how else could you get all of the ingredients to cook and meld into such soul-supporting and body-warming bliss?
When I was a young wife, my ex would not eat chili of any kind. If I wanted some I had to cook two menus to accommodate each of us.
When I was a young mother, our child would not eat it either. It is impossible to discount parental influence, particularly when a child would do anything to gain attention and favor from a parent.
So, one day I was at the market and was choosing pasta products when I saw a shape that was new to me. It was wheels, at least actual wheel shapes. Inspiration hit, I bought some, went home and made chili, cooked the wheel pasta and put them together and when everyone came to the table and looked at what seemed to be chili with something weird in it, announced that we were having a new recipe, Cowboy Stew.
Disbelieving and tentative nibbles were taken, especially by the older one. Everyone loved it, like loved it so much that it was often requested, and I was able to have chili more often.
I did nothing to change my original chili recipe, except for adding boiled noodles. My daughter still talks about cowboy stew and bemoans the loss of wheel-shaped pasta from the market shelves. You can still buy it in specialty stores or other places I do not know about, I guess. One local market has wheels in a package of assorted shapes. Cool, but not quite the same. I wonder how many packages I would have to buy to get enough for one pot of chili.
I just browsed and it can be purchased on-line. The Barilla site lists it, but when I tried to buy some, it told me that they do not have any on-line sellers in their data base. Amazon sells it for four pounds at $8.00/US. Pretty cheap if you buy $35.00 worth, as it then has free shipping.
Aside from now wanting very much to have noodles of some kind, when I thought of that old cowboy chili experiment (which it was, because it could have failed to fool anyone) perception can often be everything.
I appear to be pretty well put-together. I work and do it well. I am well groomed. I smell nice. It is just that no one knows how messed up I still am. I am working on settling and being a more fully organized being. I am working on that today, as a matter of fact. It bothers me to be two different people, present entirely different personas. I need to bring some order, some alignment into the life I want, my new-now life.
On the days when I cannot manage to appear like a normal person, I stay home. I think, or at least hope, that normal people do the same. Probably not as much, though.
Silly memories of food and what it means to nurture and love my family, all those years ago when it seemed that the worst was over (how foolish that notion was), and maybe we could have a regular life, one that did not include fear and pain. So hopeful that I would be able to find the perfect balance of providing for my family whilst avoiding anything to disturb and incite him.
The same process of never giving up is what I need to call back into my life now, but with the certainty that what I do now, removing the messier part of my life. All from feeling hungry and letting memories flow a bit. I need to remember that there were plenty of good moments from that other life.