What do you mean chili doesn’t have peas?

Like many of you, one of our favorite stops at the fair is the Rural Firemen’s stand. I’ll never forget the time our son and his family joined us for burgers and chili. My daughter-in-law, my grandchildren and I sat down at one of the picnic tables behind the stand. My hubby and son brought the food over to us.

I remember my daughter-in-law asking, “What kind of soup is this?”

When I asked her if she never had chili before, she said, “Lots of times, but I have never heard of chili with peas in it.”

Her comment really surprised me. My mother always put peas in our chili. I guess I just thought everyone did.

A few months later, when we had a chili dump at City Hall, I was told chili with peas wasn’t allowed. Obviously, many of the staff at City Hall weren’t “homegrown.” (except Dana Dillenburg, who grew up on Shawano chili, too)

I guess Ila Moede said it best in her book “Grandma’s Footprints.” She wrote, “One type of food which is rarely found anywhere else is the soupy style of chili made in Shawano. It is served in the homes, most local restaurants, and often at church fundraising events.” The recipe for this German-style chili is:

1 pound hamburger

2 cans tomato soup

1 can kidney beans

½ cup chopped celery

1 cup elbow macaroni

1 medium chopped onion

1 14½ oz. can stewed tomatoes

1 small can peas

6-8 cups of water

2 tablespoons chili powder

Fry hamburger, onion and celery until brown. Put all ingredients in large kettle, and simmer for at least an hour. Note: some use tomato juice instead of tomato soup. Some boil the macaroni before adding to other ingredients.

Although I will eat other types of chili, I grew up eating Shawano chili, and it’s still my favorite.

I wonder how many of you remember when George and Agnes Martin owned the Limestone Castle? Rush Niles, from Bonduel, helped George bartend. The waitresses were middle-aged local women known for their excellent service. If you were fortunate enough to be seated at a table by the window, the view to the south was of a beautiful Wisconsin rural landscape.

When the Limestone was one of the premier supper clubs in the area, they were known for their famous “Limestone Castle French Dressing.” I thought you might enjoy making this tasty “Shawano” favorite provided by Elaine Knope.

1½ cups vegetable oil

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon pepper

1 tsp. paprika

1½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon celery seed

Blend all ingredients together except celery seed. Add celery seed after finished blending. Store in the refrigerator. Will not separate and will keep indefinitely. Yield is 2½ cups.

Another area favorite is authentic German Potato Salad. Years ago, this was a recipe used by many local families. I’m sure older folks still have this recipe in their recipe box. Enjoy:

3 cups diced peeled potatoes

4 slices of bacon

1 small diced onion

¼ cup white vinegar

2 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parley

Place potatoes into a pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain and cool.

Fry bacon over medium high heat. Fry until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add diced onion to the bacon grease. Add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil and then add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half the bacon. Heat though, then put in serving dish. Crumble remaining bacon on top and serve warm.

Another favorite in this area is dumplings. Thanks Judi Popp for this easy to make drop dumpling recipe that is still used in a few local restaurants today. These tender dumplings will taste like they took a lot of time to prepare.

Beat 4 eggs. Add 4 cups of flour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper (I use white pepper), ½ tsp nutmeg, and a small sprig of chopped parsley. Add milk, a little at a time, just enough to moisten. Drop by teaspoon into boiling water. Boil for about 10 minutes. (they will float) Add to soup or a beef or pork roast. Enjoy.

I believe there are 19 permanent food and refreshment stands on the fairgrounds. These stands are operated by dedicated volunteers who support their nonprofit groups. Thank you for your commitment (and thank you ladies for making that wonderful Shawano chili).

Sending words of love and comfort to the families of Michel (Mike) Schuler and Patrick (Pat) Crawford. Surely the trumpets sounded as Heaven welcomed them home.

Question: What was the name of the tavern Gordon Zimmerman owned (108 S. Main St., Shawano) in 1959?

Clothesline Conversation Answer: Zimmerman’s Tic Toc

Lorna Marquardt is a former Shawano mayor.