Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eye of the Beholder

Sunday Scribblings prompted us to write something spicy.

I have "spicy" stories in me. I could write about how when I hear about spicy food, I think how my dad's bald heat used to sweat when he ate hot stuff. I could write about getting my wife to eat spicier food. And I did take a trip to Grenada, the Spice Island, once when I was twelve.

But my muse was not amused with those stories. My muse wanted this one.

Spice Is in the Eye of the Beholder

I really liked my grandma's chili. She kept forgetting that I liked it. In fact, she got stuck in her head that I didn't like it (I don't know which grandchild she got me confused with over that). So it was rare that I was around to either ask for it specifically and remind her that I really liked it.

Now the chili I grew up with was not spicy. Remember that I grew up in the midwest, where the only chili peppers we had came powdered in a spice tin. I may very well have been the same tin my whole childhood since chili was probably the only thing chili powder was used for.

But every time my grandma made chili she disappeared for a while into her basement. She took the cutting board and the hand-cranked meat grinder so I always figured it had something to do with the meat.

I figured wrong.

One time I went looking for grandma during chili preparation and I found her in the basement. It was then I discovered what the meat grinder was for.

Onions. Plain white onions went into the grinder and came out in a kind of onion paste. And I was sworn to secrecy. I was not to tell anyone that there were onions in the chili.

As it turned out, there was only one person from whom she was trying to keep the secret--her husband. If he knew there were onions in the chili, she said, he would not eat it.

Thinking back, I couldn't recall anything cooked in their house that had obvious pieces of onions in it. So I kept her secret for years.

I didn't say anything when they visited my house and I saw him eat onions that were in the foods my mom cooked. I told my mom and she said to leave it alone.

I'm guessing he knew the onions were in the chili. And I'm guessing he didn't know how to tell her it was OK.


colleen said...

I have some cayenne that would go well with that.

gautami tripathy said...

I enjoyed that very much!LOL!

Maria said...

What a great idea! And I still have one of those old fashioned meat grinders that you attach to the side of a table. AND the table that it fits on is in the basement. I only use it to make stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey, though....