“The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.”  Lucille Ball

It’s wonderful when a cooking secret about the perfect …  comes your way.  Fill in the blank.  You’ve had people share secrets about their cooking, haven’t you?

The other day at our ladies luncheon, (polite term for what went on) one of the group brought chili.  Of course, she shared the secret to great chili – cook it for a long time.  This brought to mind my mother’s secret for great chili, which was to use a lot of onions.  Mother had worked at a diner in her youth and the elderly woman who cooked there shared this bit of wisdom.

And then there was my friend in Milwaukee who told me that all great chili contains cocoa powder.  This seemed the strangest idea yet, until I was watching a TV special about a chili cook-off (reality TV was more real back then) and the winner of the cook-off, who was a jolly looking cook said, “And here’s my secret,” as he held up a can of cocoa powder.

And so for my last batch of chili I used a lot of onions along with some cocoa powder and cooked it for a long time.  It probably would have been great if I hadn’t over-salted it.  Ah, life.

Time for a simple recipe?


Ground or unground meat

tomato product of some kind

onions – chopped and lots

peppers – minced and invisible if your family thinks they don’t like peppers

celery, minced

cocoa powder

chili powder


salt – just a little


Saute’ the meat until browned.  Get the red out.  Add everything else.  Simmer for a LONG TIME.

The rest of the story.  And then you have just a dab of chili leftover and you’re not sure what to do with it.  Breakfast!

My breakfasts are often a combination of leftovers with an egg poached in the center.  This morning I had that dab of leftover chili on top of leftover broccoli.  After heating that combination, covered and on a low eat, I plopped an egg in the center and covered it again until the egg was cooked through.  Two leftover gone from the fridge and a lovely health-giving egg in my tummy.  And best of all, I remembered to take a picture!


Loveya – The Grandma


Grandma Pat View All →

Artist, African hand drum student, yoga neophyte, and Grandmother of 22 or so grandchildren. I enjoy cooking and writing. I value good friends and quiet times for reading.

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