Chilli Tuesdays have been a long standing culinary tradition here in our home or more accurately in our kitchen. Kitchens often tend to be at the heart of the home where families gather and sit around the dining table to chat and catch up with the events of the day, in addition to telling stories and exchanging news. Our kitchen was, and still is that place where minds meet, debate and tell tales if tales need to be told. Back in the days when our darling daughter Sam was a little ray of sunshine with the joy of childhood still raging through her veins, and no responsibility, she declared Chilli con carne to be her most favourite meal in all the world and please Mummy can you make it every week. It had to be Mum’s Chilli (mine) rather than Dad’s because Mum’s was more tomatoey with finely chopped vegetables which she liked, and Dad made his too hot and cut his vegetables too big as Dad’s often tend to do which she did not like. Like most Mums, I did whatever it took to keep the kids happy, fed and watered, and allowed them to be far too fussy where food was concerned. This was to prove a serious error in judgement on my part. To all you parents out there just starting out, do not do as I did, and allow your children too much free choice in the kitchen, as later down the line you will suffer the tantrums of them refusing to eat what is on the table. Tuesday was our ten pin bowling night, where me and the husband would take a few hours out to go to the bowling alley for a bit of adult only time. Sam would stay at home with her brothers and our lovely babysitter Daina. On this point I hasten to add that her brothers were old enough to look after her but made such a song and dance of it, that it was easier to ask Daina to come over to keep her company, and to ensure that our little cherub was content while we were away. The boys, her brothers were too preoccupied with going outside to play football or just hang out with their friends, as older kids choose to do in preference to staying home and looking after their little sister. Daina was sensible, reliable and played games with Sam. Getting back to what became the dish of the day or rather the dish of every Tuesday, Chilli con carne became the staple supper of choice for it’s simplicity, and the fact that all the kids were happy to eat it, hence Tuesdays have been affectionately dubbed Chilli Tuesdays ever since, even though now we do not eat Chilli every week. This is because our dear little cherub is now all grown up with a responsible career and a sizeable salary, and Chilli con carne is no longer her most favourite meal in all the world . She would rather have a Dominoes or a Nandos. All that said, every so often I revert to cooking chilli on a Tuesday when the family needs to be grounded and a sense of normality is needed if there is really such a thing. When life becomes chaotic as it often does, and everyone is busy with the busyness that is life in the 21st century, with us being on call 24/7 then just sometimes it is good to raise the old traditions that glue a family together before they become unstuck. This is just one of our traditions as daft as it may sound but all families can create rituals that give a sense of stability. We all need grounding from time to time, and it helps knowing that things that we once valued are still there when the need arises. Tonight is one of those nights and the chilli is cooking on the stove. Beef Chilli for the family, and plant based chilli for me.
© Liola Lee 2018