“What the hell is this?” I exclaimed after the waitress set down a bowl of what looked nothing like I had ordered.
“That’s chili, Rita. It’s what you ordered,” my roommate answered as if I may have forgotten what I actually had ordered and as if she were trying to calm me.
“Oh,” I mumbled as I added a few crackers still a little confused by the plain bowl in front of me. The look on my face must still have been shock because my roommate then said, “What’s the problem? Never had chili before?”
“No, I’ve had chili before, just not this kind of chili, does it have a special name?”
“No, it’s chili, plain and simple.”
Plain and simple was right. That was not chili to me. The chili my mom always made for my family had macaroni in it. She had a talent for chili and it has always been a favorite of mine.
I told my roommate that it was different than what I was used to and I described what chili was to me. “Basically the same,” I said, “but with kidney beans and noodles!”
“Oh, you mean chili mac. That’s good too!”
My whole world was shattered in that moment. Chili Mac? No…Chili. That stuff here was just boring.
I still break out my mom’s recipe on occasion but to avoid confusion when I invite my friends over, I change the name.
“Wanna come over for some Chili Mac?”