A good day for chili, he said as he got out of bed and his bare feet hit the ice cold floor. Joe never defined himself as a cook, but bragged on his famous Hot Pepper Chili. December seemed to come early this year and the snow with it. After shoveling the path to the main road all he could think of was the chili. Joe was a loner, totally relied on himself for everything. He was often quoted, “don’t need no woman around here bothering me.” In fact Joe had been married, they had no children, and he couldn’t bring himself to face another failure. He tried everything but his wife succumbed to the cancer anyway. He had taken on the responsibility of her care, but thought, undeservedly, that he failed.
Joe was bustling around in the kitchen preparing the ingredients. Starting out he carved up some beef from a chuck roast he bought for making pot roast. The weather seemed a good excuse for some filling comfort food. He was browning the meat with some onions, peppers and spices when he heard a noise from the fireplace. One of the logs had dislodged and rolled out on the wooden plank floor. As he replaced the log, he hadn’t noticed the edge of an area rug had been singed and now starting to flame. Not panicking, Joe stomped it out, cleaned up the ashy mess and then remembered the meat on the stove.
Sadly the peppers and onions were charred too much to lend good flavor. He removed the meat that was browned a little too much, but would suffice in a hot spicy broth. Later on, his good friend stopped by. Mike often went by to check up on Joe after his wife died. Joe secretly enjoyed the visits but didn’t show much emotion anymore.
Joe had just put the finishing touches on the chili when Mike walked in. “Just in time, Mike, soup’s on!”