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Chilly Day

It’s been rainy and cool for the last 5 days.
While perfectly normal in Washington, it’s unusual here in Denver. The words, I love it, do not do my spirit justice. I LOVE IT! This morning I sit next to a candle in my cozy robe, writing, window open, listening to the quiet sound of rain.
In a few minutes, I’ll pull on my clothes, raincoat, rubber boots and head out to take care of the animals before heading into the restaurant for the day.
Yesterday was my day off so I watched the forecast and planned for a rainy day inside.
Here’s how that goes…

Earlier in the week, when I saw that it would be rainy, I went to the spice shop to get fresh spices for chili. I browse the shop carefully letting the smells fill my senses and inspire.
I think about what would make the most delicious chili.
At the farmer’s market, I buy beef from Frank and we talk about making chili. I buy big beautiful peppers from Jackie. We hug one another, talk and then get our picture taken with Jeni, who is selling apples. Adam is with me this day and snaps the photos. He is getting to know the folks that grow our food. I buy a case of ripe tomatoes, chiles and onions from Wyatt. I buy garlic from Anne. Then I decide that I will make a big pot of chicken broth this week and go get bones from Cindy, carrots and celery from Jason.
I know every one of these people and we have spent years becoming friends over food at the market.
I am gathering ingredients to make chili for someone that I love. It’s just chili but it’s for someone that is deserving of more than JUST chili. How I do this matters deeply to me.

I can’t remember when that happened for me in my life, but I have believed in this way of caring and loving and connecting for a very very long time.
I believe these are the decisions and the stories and the connections of our lives. It is the most basic way to care….for ourselves, our families, our communities.
Connecting with the people that grow my food is important. These connections and stories will fill my chili with magic.
It is a personal experience…like cooking chili for someone that I love is a personal experience. It is important to me that my life is filled with personal experiences.

By the time yesterday arrived, everything is gathered and waiting in my kitchen.
I roast some tomatoes on the grill, I roast the rest in the oven. The grill gives them a charred flavor, the oven concentrates the flavor. I pull off the skins as they cool to touch.

An old friend I haven’t seen in ages comes over. We catch each other up on our lives, loves, kids, dreams, drinking tea, looking at pictures . Chili simmering on the stove, candles and laughter bring sparkle into the gray day.

My boyfriend is an over the road truck driver spending his weeks driving through every part of the country. I make soups for him to take.
Yesterday was a perfect chili making day if I ever lived one.
What may look like a plain ’ol pot of chili is actually a pot of magic…of connections and love.
When he drives away, I want him to eat food that nourishes his body and fills his spirit.

Finally, I divide the chili into portions and carry them out to the freezer.
Chili Day.

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