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Grandpa's Chili

America, North: American

Grandpa did not usually cook in our family. Typically the only times he got behind the stove was when grandma had to work late. When he did venture into the kitchen, though, whatever food he made was delicious and filling. I would sit at the counter and watch him as he worked: slowly, methodically, never rushed. Every movement was precise, with the kind of unhurried grace that I never thought him capable of. Grandma and I were close because she would taught me to play sports, took me shopping and to the movies. Grandpa and I were close because he cooked. When he got behind the stove and his large, wrinkled, callused hands would begin to prepare our dinner, he would start to talk. He'd tell me about growing up on his family's farm, about his many brothers and sisters. He told me about the dinners they used to have as a family as the smell of his cooking drifted into the living room. Most of my early memories of my grandfather are of him cooking dinner as his soft voice lulls me into the kind of calm no one else could coax me into at that age.


1 lb. ground chuck
1 tbsp. chopped onion
1/4 box of spaghetti
1 can 15 oz. tomato sauce
1 can mild chilli beans
2 or 3 tbsp. chilli powder


1. boil water and add spaghetti
2. brown meat (add salt and pepper to taste)
3. add chopped onion to browned meat
4. after browning, drain
5. drain cooked spaghetti
6. add browned meat to spaghetti
7. add beans, tomato sauce, and chilli powder
8. add about one can of water, stir everything together
9. cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or longer (the longer it cooks, the better it tastes!)

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