TPG Blog #8: Cars, The Cars and Roger Staubach's Family Chili
Posted on February 16 2021
We’re a car family – Motor Trend channel tuned in nightly, family drives, trips around the block in the latest project with questionable seats, a “someday” list with attending the Barrett - Jackson car auction on it, and kids that grew up knowing how poker runs and reverse drawings work. Car people love a car show, join car clubs, and really love a parade and if it’s patriotic, even better. All are welcome – if you have a car, are working on a car, would love a car or cars interest you. In high school, the boys we dated on Friday nights would stop by Eddie’s Speed Shop on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno so they would be ready to work on their cars after their tractor driving and irrigation work was finished on Saturday. Small town USA at its finest and the cars that bring generations together are always close to our hearts.
I often tease my husband, Brad, that he only remembers a few of his teacher’s names in high school but he still knows what everyone drove. His dad, Vernon, worked at the local Chevrolet dealership for 35 years after serving in WWII, pivoting between salesman and mechanic depending on where he was most needed. He could fabricate anything, invented tools when he needed one that wasn’t available and was an all-around great guy, helping people with their cars, boats, and motorcycles from a tiny garage in the back of their home on Oakdale Drive. I’ve slowly learned of all that he did for others in the years after he died – told only by the people that he helped.
Brad’s first car was a Chevrolet Corvair. It was given to him when he was 15 and he had a year to make it “road worthy”. He was driving it at 16 and moved on from the Corvair to the Chevrolet Vega to 4-wheel drive trucks. Twenty years later, we came across (car people do this all of the time – “come across …”) a wrecked Corvair with a salvage title and a parts car from the Goodwill and - tada! Magic, as if Vernon was in the garage with Brad for a second time. The Corvair was the working man’s family car of the 1960’s. Many couples have come up to me over the years, telling me that it was their first car as a newlywed, or their family drove out to California in one. I’ve been startled as people yell at stoplights “Is that the Spider model?”, “Is that a “64?” and waves, thumbs up, smiles and happiness. Everyone loves cars and the stories and memories that they trigger are deep and colorful and beautiful.
So, when our daughter, Arianna, grabbed her dad to be her chauffeur and they chased the sunset on New Year’s Eve for one last picture of 2020, they jumped into the Corvair. They headed to the outskirts of town and she snapped this picture with her phone camera. Pulled off on the side of the road, she took a few pictures of the sunset, her dad, and the car, capturing that moment in time. Proud to be a car family and all that comes with it – join us and take a drive with your family, arm out the open window sailing through the wind! And bring your lawn chair to sit with us at the next car show. I’m sure you have a car story to tell and we’re here for it!
And … come back home to this chili! The recipes that I’ve been posting are perfect for week-night dinners as they are either (1) super quick or (2) you set them up in your crockpot and come home to yummy goodness or (3) little prep when you get home then while it cooks, help kids with homework, baths, set up backpacks for the next day, play with the dogs, lock yourself in the bathroom for some peace and then sit for dinner together.
Roger Staubach’s Family Chili
10 minutes to prep, 45 minutes to 1 hour on stovetop
(printed in Parade Magazine, Super Bowl Weekend 2012)
- 1 lb. ground beef or steak chopped into bitesize pieces (leftover steak or tri tip is fantastic too!)
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- ½ green pepper, chopped
- 1 ¼ cups ketchup
- ½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 (15 oz.) can Ranch Style Beans – the recipe from Roger says, “if unable to find Ranch Style Beans, use 1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans.” Don’t do it! Sis, I’m telling you, GO FIND the Ranch Style Beans. Send a teenager who just got their driver’s license – they’ll go for you. Or you can buy a case of 12 cans on Amazon for under $20, it’ll be on your front porch lickety split and you can make 11 more batches – yes, you’re welcome!
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, oiled saucepan over medium heat, brown ground beef or steak. Add onion and green pepper; cook until onion is translucent and pepper is softened. Add ketchup, water, chili powder, beans and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine; simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Spoon into bowls; top with grated cheddar cheese and serve with Marie Calendar’s cornbread muffins – the mix is with the boxed cake mixes at your grocery store. And just like that, YOU are a superstar!
Have a great week living your great big life, Superstar! Let’s cheer each other on and give grace to others this week – it’s what we do, you know!