15 December 2011

Using a whole bottle of Tobasco or, Spice Packet People

Part 1
A few months after I got married I felt intrepid enough to try my hand at making chili.  Cooking is not my specialty.  I can bake a delicious (some even say famous) chocolate chip cookie, but cooking always frazzled me, too many variables.  I lived at home during college and on the nights my mom didn’t cook my staple was Annie’s Mac and Cheese.  Some times I would saute onions and peppers, maybe heat up some leftover meat, to make the mac and cheese into more of a meal but that was the extent of my cooking abilities.  My dad was so worried about the comfort of my future husband he took it upon himself to teach me to cook.  Let’s just say it only happened once and it didn’t end well.  I was given boxes of Annie’s Mac at my bridal shower.  By more than one person.  Faith in my cooking abilities was low.
But I wanted to try chili.  Not just any chili, my mom’s chili.  The only chili I liked (or so I thought).  So I asked her for her recipe.  My first clue should have been the fact that I didn’t already have it.  I had photo-copied cards from her recipe box, at least all the ones I liked, before I moved out.  
My mom looked puzzled, my recipe?  
Yea, your chili is the only kind I really like.  
Oh, I just use the spice packet.
I timidly picked it up the next time I was at the grocery store.  McCormick.  Chili.  Hot.  There it was, what I thought was a ‘family recipe’, on the back of a spice packet.  Ready in 30 minutes.  Dreams of cookbooks filled with recipes passed down mother to daughter that would rival Martha Stewart and Paula Deen evaporated.  We were spice packet people.

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