UUCW member Lynn Kapitan shares her chili adventures which include her husband Eddee Daniel’s mastery of the delicious and well-loved dish of the Southwest. 

My first exposure to chili involved my mother’s inevitable go-to ingredient: Campbell’s tomato soup. Thus, I was startled to discover a whole new gastronomic world with my first taste of Eddee Daniel’s homemade chili, which he had deployed to woo me. My taste buds burst with the bright flavors of fire-roasted tomatoes, onions sauteed to golden perfection, finely chopped green chiles, and the aromatic union of bay leaf, cumin, coriander, oregano, and chili powder. Yes, I concluded, I could marry this man and live in chili heaven for the rest of my life!

Over the years, Eddee expanded his repertoire from chili con carne to vegetarian chili too, most recently, a marvelous white chili enhanced with a “secret” ingredient from New Mexico. Along a dusty road in the red canyonland northwest of Santa Fe, we spied a hand-lettered sign that announced the much-awaited arrival of Hatch green chiles being roasted right there. We drove the 1,000 miles home to Wisconsin with a cooler full, the aroma stinging our eyes while we salivated over thoughts of Eddee’s chili to warm our many nights to come. On another trip, a lucky stop to get gas at a general store provided us with several pounds of green chile powder and a source of supply that Eddee stirs into his crocks of chili today.

Oh yes, there are other chili recipes out there; I remember a delicious bowl at a little diner that was unlike any Eddee has made—filled with noodles and beans, thick meat sauce, melting cheddar cheese, and topped with oyster crackers. Wouldn’t it be grand to taste a whole cornucopia of different chili specialties and discover those that thrill you most? Maybe you, or someone you know, makes a chili that can send us into rapturous bliss. Or a humble version that carries memories of home and hearth. This is your chance!

Sign up HERE to be a chili maker for the UUCW Chili Cook-off on October 9. And let’s meet up and renew our community at a fun gathering that will warm our bodies, hearts, and souls.