Christmas Comfort Food
Early in my Air Force career my wife and I were stationed far from home. A wonderful family “adopted” us, and invited us for Christmas Eve. The star of the celebration was the mother’s chili. Ever since that time chili has been Christmas Eve comfort food and remains so to this day. Like family, chili is warm and embracing, takes you in its arms and welcomes you driving cold and cares away.
Easy to make or as complex as one would like, with beans or without, tomato sauce or not – it is a dish as varied as the people who relish it. There are many recipes available on the net, but the best kind is the chili that is made and served with love. Want immortality? Every time I have a bowl of chili I instantly think of the family that took us into the fold and considered us part of the clan. My mind also wanders back to cold South Dakota nights and the first spoon full of chili that warmed to the bones. Coupled with the love of the family, the reason for the gathering, and just being part of something special this was the best chili I ever had even though it might not have taken any prizes in a cook off – it will always be number one in my heart.
Try I as I might I have never been able to faithfully render the same unique flavor that chili possessed, the recipe remains the secret of the family that first concocted it, but I do believe that the secret ingredient, the one I cannot duplicate is the love and care that came with the soup on those cold Christmas Eves and the joy of a holiday family reunion.