I believe great neighbors are a real treasure on this earth. I learned this growing up at 312 High St. living next door to one of the best neighbors ever. Cheryl Galvin was a gem and I will never take for granted how lucky our family was to have her beside us at 314 High St. She took me to see The Nutcracker, decorated Easter eggs with me, and helped me many mornings before school when my mom couldn't get the toe seams in my socks just right. She was very much a part of our family — I even called her my Aunt Cheryl.
Of course you don't realize how spoiled you are with great neighbors until you don’t live beside them anymore. After my mom got pregnant with my younger brother, Graham, we moved to the other side of town into a bigger, one-story home. Even still, we found ourselves back on High St. with the Galvins celebrating special occasions, holidays, and most importantly, chili nights.
Cheryl was the queen of making chili. I've tasted plenty of chili in my life, but this is the recipe I grew up on and the one I still make to this day. Cheryl's chili is a bit spicy. (My favorite part!) I remember my sister, Megan, and I used to watch our dad eat so we could tease him when the heat from the chili made his bald head break into a sweat. I remember Cheryl's giant chili pot that Megan could climb into and sit down in when she was a little girl. I remember how Cheryl used to house some very special international students who would request her chili when they would come back to visit. I also remember a smaller chili pot (without beans) always sitting on the stove for her daughter, Heather.
But most of all, I remember Cheryl and how this chili was only one of the million ways she loved her family and invited people into her home. Cheryl passed away in the summer of 2012, but I think of her often — especially when the weather gets cold and her chili recipe comes out. I will keep feeding it to the people I love & I hope one day I can be half of the neighbor she was to my family, and maybe even become someone's unofficial aunt. *Disclaimer* — even though you may follow this recipe perfectly, it will never taste as good as Cheryl’s!
- Brown hamburger and onion — drain off grease.
- Empty all cans into a pot and add hamburger and onion. Stir ingredients, cover with lid and simmer for at least two hours.
- Add in cooked spaghetti noodles 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve in big bowls with lots of cheese & crackers!