From August 2013 to January 2014, I studied abroad in Ireland. The one thing that made me the most homesick was not having the food I was used to eating. So, I tried to make a traditional meal for my family once per week while I was there. The first meal I made for my Irish host family was the chili that has run through my family’s veins for the past three generations. During October, and on Halloween in particular, my family always makes chili.
I felt the easiest way for me to share some of my own culture with my Irish parents and siblings was to cook for them. For hundreds of years, people have bonded around the dinner table. Some of my fondest memories of my time in Ireland happened in that very spot. While my host family and I can mutually agree on the fact we didn’t always like each other’s meals, we were always excited to try them. The Irish are known for their relatively bland food, so they were not huge fans of the somewhat spicy chili, but they kindly ate it anyway.
This chili was originally my great-grandfather’s award-winning recipe, but nowadays my mom makes it the most often. It is a very chunky and thick chili, which is not for everyone. To thin it, my dad changes the recipe slightly by using half the meat and an extra half can of tomato sauce. He also adds a cup of corn and a half cup of diced green chilies.