Making Chili With Dad

‘Sup Wonderful Listeners.

Something rather, how do I say, interesting happened to me yesterday. I found this occurrence interesting mostly because I wasn’t sure how to process it at first. See, somehow, I got roped into making chili for my family with my dad. The best part about this was that I didn’t even ask to be involved. It just sorta happened.

Around 5:00 PM or so, I was loitering about in the kitchen. My dad walked in and started talking about something, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I was already in the kitchen beforehand because my mom had asked me to finish cooking the hamburger meat in the pan for her.

Then, as my dad always does, he got up into the business of whoever was cooking, which at the time was me. One thing to know about my dad is that when someone is cooking, he usually has to have some input about it. He also likes to hover over people and criticize/offer advice to them about what they are currently doing.

Anyway, at some point he told me that I should turn up the heat on the meat. In fact, he did it for me. But I was waiting for the meat to thaw since it had been frozen. I didn’t want to cook the outside too quickly and have the meat be dried out before everything was at least room temperature.

Still, I did the smart thing, which is to just let him run his mouth until he’s done. Don’t get me wrong, I was irritated with the situation but I know better than to interrupt him. Besides, he was trying to help me after all…

Well, I managed to get the meat cooked up. By this time, I was in it for the long haul; I just accepted that. After cooking the meat thoroughly, my dad thew in some spices. I was taking mental notes. After he finished that, I drained the meat and rinsed it in hot water. Then I transferred it to a big pot and threw in some tomato sauce and water. I was following my dad’s instructions with precision because this was my first time making chili. So, even though I knew that I would be irritated while “helping out”, I was excited to be learning how to make a dish I love to eat.

Dad had instructed me to keep that pot on low heat and so I did. Meanwhile, he told me that we would need certain vegetables diced and set to the side. I didn’t feel like doing that right away so I decided that I would do that shortly before the chili needed them added in. So for the time being, I helped season the “sauce” of the chili. After that, I just let the pot simmer.

My dad had to go leave somewhere and told me he’d be back soon. He said that we’d add the vegetables when he got back. But before he left, he showed me how he wanted the vegetables diced. Then I took over from there.

What caught me off guard was that while I was while I was dicing the vegetables, my dad asked me something rather random. In fact, he asked me a set of questions that seemed out-of-the-blue. He asked me, “Is your breathing OK?” and “Do you need new house shoes?” He didn’t ask me these questions back-to-back but he didn’t ask them too far from one another either.

I was shocked to be honest. Why? Well, because those questions imply a certain amount of concern for my well-being. I understand that my dad loves me (as a parent should) but it’s so rare for me to see him be verbal with his love.

I mean, just to illustrate, my mom is usually the only one that asks the breathing question because she’s always direct with her concerns about me. Also, I didn’t expect my dad to be so adamant about making sure I didn’t get sick by not having anything on my feet. (Just so you know, I had on thick black socks, but apparently that wasn’t good enough to walk around the house in.)

Regardless, it was a surprise for me to see blatant, outward concern for me by my dad. I didn’t really know how to process it. So all I said was that I was fine. Granted, I did underline my words with a bit of irritation because I felt like he was baby-ing me a bit, but still, there was something nice about it.

Well, while all of this was running through my head, my dad had left. So I just went back to relaxing in my room. I set a timer for myself so I could go check on the chili periodically. I was still waiting for my dad to return by the time the spices had boiled down. So, instead of waiting for him like I said I would, I went ahead and added the vegetables to the chili.

I could tell that the chili was in good condition to be adding the vegetables. Coincidentally, my dad walked through the door shortly after I added the vegetables. By this point, it was time to add the rest of the ingredients and allow for everything to simmer down together so all the flavors could blend.

Well, by the end of making the chili, I tell ya, it was delicious! I had done a pretty good job since I put in most of the work to even make it. But, of course, I only did so because of my dad’s guidance. So I did have to thank him for that. He even complemented me on a job well done. Again, I didn’t know how to process this so I just said thanked him.

Overall, this chili making experience was a noteworthy one. I really didn’t expect to run into the caring and outwardly concerned version of my dad while making chili but that’s what happened. It made me realize that while I would like him to do that more often, it would also take me a while to be fully comfortable with him being that way. So I suppose we would both have to work on that together…

Well, I do hope you all enjoyed that snippet of my life. Take care you guys. Cheers!

Do you eat chili during the winter time? Has any of your parents ever surprised you with a part of them you rarely see? Leave all of your thoughts below!

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