My mom is notorious for flying by the seat of her pants when it comes to cooking. She can look in a nearly empty pantry and come up with something that may not be gourmet but is completely delicious. When Mr. Bear and I were married, I would often call my mother up and ask her what I should make by listing the ingredients I had available. She would patiently walk me through how to pull together a meal because she knows I’m not a cook. I can bake but when it comes to taking what I have in the pantry or fridge and making it work, I’m missing the necessary gene.
While I admire my mother’s ability to pull recipes out of thin air, I wish more of her dishes were actually on paper somewhere. The winter of my first marriage I was feeling hugely pregnant and homesick. I knew that with the temperatures as low as they were, my mother would be making what had once been a staple to my winter diet – chili. Unfortunately I had seemed to marry a man that didn’t understand that chili isn’t a want, it’s a need. Especially when the person who needs said chili is pregnant.
When I called her up one afternoon asking for her chili recipe, all I got on the other end of the line was my mother’s laughter. It wasn’t my request that had made her laugh but the idea that she had a recipe to work from. Still she took pity on me and sat down at her desk and typed up a recipe for me to use as a guide for when I went grocery shopping. It’s taken us nearly a year and quite a few tweaks since then, but I think Mr. Bear and I finally have something resembling the chili that I’ve missed so much.