Thursday, March 2, 2017

Time Traveling Chili Soup

    We usually have common breakfast foods every morning, but I guess after years of eggs, toast, and cereal Kenneth was in the mood for something else for a change this morning.
     After tossing around a few ideas he landed on a brilliant one. "Hey, why don't you make your Mom's chili soup?"
     "I really don't think you'd like it," I told him. They had only ever heard of it from the few times I have mentioned it over the years, and the story I had it featured in, in the Lily books.
     "I'd like to give it a try though," he said.
     "I don't want to waste food," I said, "but if you'll eat it, whether or not you like it, I'll make some for you."
      He assured me he doesn't have a problem with that, which is how I found myself preparing a batch of my Mom's chili soup early this morning.
     I shuddered as I surveyed the ingredients, but went ahead and started by browning a quarter cup of ground hamburger. That's right. Not a quarter pound, but a quarter cup. Next I added three cups of tomato juice and three tablespoons of brown sugar. Usually Mom would add an equal amount of water as juice, but on special occasions she used beef broth. I wanted it to taste as good as possible, so two cups of broth and only one cup of water was added next. As it was heating I rinsed a can of kidney beans and added them. Once everything was hot I took a spoon to taste it.
     Instantly my taste buds triggered my memory and I was a skinny nine year old girl sitting at the table alone, crying, with a bowl of this awful watery soup in front of me. Knowing if I don't choke it down before bedtime it will be even worse having to eat it cold for breakfast.
      "Ew ... tastes like childhood," I said as I set the spoon down.
       The children thought that was hilarious, and came to see how it tasted. Sharon didn't need more than one bite to feel sorry for me ever having had to eat this soup. Kenneth loaded it up with crackers and declared it's not too bad. I don't know that he will ever ask for it again, but at least he enjoyed a change from the usual breakfast options.


  1. I loved this story! That's how I felt about lima beans as a child. To this day I can't eat a lima bean. My Dad made me sit at the kitchen table until 11:00 one night because I could NOT eat those beans to safe my life. Not a good memory to have.

  2. Oh no...this sounds very bland. I make a similar chili soup, but with way more meat, jalapenos, sugar, though. Maybe some red pepper would have spruced up this childhood memory? ;-)

  3. Thanks for telling that story - how fun!

  4. What a great story. I well remember being forced to eat eggs as a child. For many years I couldn't stand eggs, but now I enjoy them as long as they are well cooked.

    I guess the chili soup broke up the breakfast monotony, anyway!

  5. Doesn't quite sound like chili without chili powder! I had to sit at the table, too, until my food was gone. Liver and baked custard are two things I remember distinctly, although I'm sure there were others, as I was one that was labeled "sneaky". I still don't care for either of those, but I've learned to like most other things!

  6. Oh dear. I dreaded cooked liver on a Thursday. I'm not sure of you have it in America but in England in the 70's it was very popular but not by me, I could never chew it!

  7. Hello Mary Ann,

    As I read through your story I thought of my mom's goulash. As a child it would not only make me gag but I would also loose my stomach. I remember running from the table to the bathroom and repeating this process every few bites. Despite it making me, literally, sick, my folks forced me to eat it every time it was prepared. To this day, I will not eat, or even try, anyone's goulash ... not matter how tasty others tell me it is.


  8. I grew up during WWII, so saying "I don't like it" wasn't an option; you literally didn't know where your next meal was coming from. I agree with Betsy about the lima beans! I didn't care much for peas, either (still don't like either one as a matter of fact) but I either ate what was in front of me or went to bed hungry.

  9. You were kind enough to rinse the kidney beans. My own dear mother made the worst chili, possibly a recipe cousin of your dreaded chili soup. My mom's recipe called for ground meat (so far, so good), a can of undrained, slimy kidney beans (shudder), a can of cream of tomato soup and the tiniest sprinkle of chili powder from the can she received when she first married 10 years earlier. It made for generous portions of leftovers.

    I so enjoyed your post- I never did recreate my mom's cooking for my own kids. It's funny what we loved- or didn't- and how it shapes our own household choices for our families.

  10. This is hilarious! And reading all the comments was great, too. We all loved my mom's chili growing up, but at church pot-lucks and other gatherings we would laugh (not out loud) at what passed for "chili". :)


Thank you so much for taking time to comment. I love hearing your thoughts.