Last week when I surprised my Mom at church, after the service they were selling tickets for their annual Chili Supper. I heard my Mom and another woman talking about how they were going to be short staffed in the kitchen this year. I thought – bummer I have to work on Friday!
But then I remembered I had originally taken Friday off for my photo shoot and switched my mammogram appointment to Friday – so I was off of work! I realized Thursday afternoon that I could again surprise my Mom and show up and help them cook! I told my sister about it on my drive home from work on Thursday.
Since we had a lazy morning yesterday, I didn’t realize my Mom had called my cell phone at 8:30. Odd. My Mom usually doesn’t call me on my cell phone on a work day. I called my sister and said “why would Mom be calling me?” There was a pause. She said “I accidentally told her you were coming today.” WTF?!
So the surprise was ruined. I called my Mom back, and she said even though she knew I was coming, she was so grateful for the help! And that’s all that matters, right?
I ended up getting gas and then hitting up McDonald’s for breakfast. My mouth was about to say “I’ll have the Sausage McMuffin with Egg and a Hash Brown!” But I quickly caught myself and got the oatmeal – 290 calories – done. The apples were actually really tart which I liked because the oatmeal was on the border of being too sweet for me.
When I got to church my Mom and another woman had already started chopping veggies. We were making enough chili for 300 PEOPLE which, if you don’t know, is a lot of chili! First thing I smelled when I walked in? Fricken onions!
And guess who’s job it was to chop the rest of the onions? That would be me. I must really love my Momma to cut all those onions!
I did two bowls of onions like the one above – and that was just for the garnish on TOP of the chili!
Momma was working her ass off – checking her timeline, making sure we had the right ingredients for each chili. We did a traditional chili, a meat only chili (no beans!) and a vegetarian chili.
She needed a little help though reaching the back pots of chili though!
After a while we were getting hungry, so my Mom sent me across the street to the deli to pick up some sandwiches. Tony and I recently watched an episode of Dinners and Drive-ins where they went to a bunch of Jewish deli’s – Tony and I always drool at the pastrami and corned beef!
So when I saw “corn beef” on the menu, I knew that’s the sandwich I was going to have.
I had to laugh because it isn’t “corn beef” it’s “corned beef” but whatevs. But then I heard these words: “sorry, we are out of corn beef.” Waaaaaa. So I got the Roast beef. Tony thought I should have gotten the Italian, but the roast beef was good. I ate half at lunch and then the other half mid-afternoon.
They got all the canned goods at Aldi – my Mom says they are so cheap, and they get the no tax discount because they are a non-profit.
And Ultra Foods gave them a discount on the ground beef. Since it was 80/20, we browned it, then drained the fat before adding it to the chili.
While I was chopping up onions, I asked my Mom “how much chili powder do you use in your chili?” She said “I don’t use chili powder.” Um, what? Nope, turns out my Mom’s secret weapon is . . .still a secret!! Whatever it is, it’s a perfect balance of seasonings and just enough heat.
Just when I thought I was done chopping onions? “Hey Biz, can you slice up some red onion for the garnish for the salads?” I think I cut a lifetime supply of onions yesterday!
I also helped cook – making sure the beef was browning and the veggies weren’t overcooking. I love this circa 1950’s apron – I had two aprons to bring with me, and I walked off without them!
Can I just say that even though this church stove is old, I loved cooking on a 10 burner gas stove again! I hate my electric stove.
Hannah had texted me earlier in the day to ask how things were going. I told her that Aunt Jennifer had ruined the surprise and she said she was sorry. Later in the afternoon I was cutting up corn bread when I heard my Mom say “Hannah!” Yep, she felt bad about my surprise being ruined so she surprised me and drove to church after she got off of work. #love
Three generations of chili makers!! It was so nice to see her and she ended being a big help making sure we had a clean stock of chili bowls. I hope they made a lot of money – it was $10 for an adult and $5 for kids – one guy paid $250 for a ticket!
What better way to spend a Friday – cooking up a storm and hanging out with family – it was a great day! And my Mom really appreciated the help. So that keeps me as the #1 child and of course, Hannah is the #1 grandchild. Duh.
While its in the 50s today, its rainy and overcast. I have cans of pumpkin in my pantry calling my name! I may need to make some scones for the week.
Question of the Day: Do you top your chili with fresh white onions? If you do, I’ll still like you, but just wondering.
Have a great weekend – see you Monday!