Secret family recipe


Story + Illustration by Megan Goheen

Growing up, my mom, dad, sister, aunt, uncle and cousins traveled about three miles over to my grandma and papa’s house for dinner. Oftentimes, the dish of choice was papa’s chili. We would chat in the kitchen, listen to Jimmy Buffet and watch papa stir the chili in a large cast-iron pot.

To me, it is a symbol of the love between a family and a rite of passage to becoming an adult. I know I am the next person to carry along our recipe to future generations. Upon my college graduation, I received a gift from my grandpa. It was a cutting board with the recipe engraved into the wood. Although my grandfather is an amazing writer, his handwriting is sometimes illegible to the normal eye. However, the cutting board showcased beautiful, cursive handwriting. When my mom saw the board for the first time, she looked at my papa and said, “Wow! This must have taken you hours to write!” He smiled and nodded.

Now, I am no longer three miles from papa’s house, but instead in another state. I display the cutting board in my kitchen to remind me of home and the memories made because of papa’s chili. Follow this step-by-step illustration to make a batch of your own.


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