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I was born into a family that had good home cooked food. I never experienced a restaurant meal with my family until I was grown. We had good clothes. A lot were homemade by my mother. That was about it on the luxuries. I never felt that we were poor, we had as much as the neighbors. Then one day dad pointed out to me the whole community had very little. There were nine total in our family I had three older siblings and three younger. At the age of 14 I went to work in a restaurant washing dishes. I had my first restaurant meal there. It was a very busy restaurant named Nickerson Farms. It looked like a big red and white barn. It was located right on I-35 in south Oklahoma City. It was about one mile from our house, and I would walk to and from work most of the time unless I could catch a ride with a willing soul. Washing dishes was a very hard job,11 to 12 hours a day most of the time in the summer. The restaurant was a tourist stop for travelers. I had worked there maybe 6 weeks when one of the cooks didn’t show up.
That day Mr. Gardener the manager asked me to start cooking, I told him I didn’t know how to cook. He said “yes you do”! Open that can of green beans and start browning some bacon in that pan. So that day I went to work as a dishwasher and came home as a cook!
There was a chef that worked there and he made good chili. I wanted to learn how to make good chili, but he just wouldn’t allow anyone to get close while he was cooking his chili. He knew I was watching him and he would do little things to throw me off, maybe a little bit of cornflakes then a little oatmeal after a while I realized he was just trying to mislead me. I left Nickerson Farms with two things. I knew what good chili looked like and I knew what good chili tasted like and that was it.
I worked on my own chili recipe for a long time. I remembered what my Grandmother told me to look for in good homemade chili at the age of ten. After I created what I thought was good homemade chili, I told my wife Jenita this is it ! I wanted a fast chili that tastes good.
A few years later we opened a private dining hall. When we would make chili for guests they would ask for extra to take home, because it was so good. Then a lady asked me to do a fundraiser for a local school. I told her sure, how much did she want, she said she would need about 30 pounds. I cooked the chili and she took it to the fundraiser. She called me back the next day and said it was a hit and they sold out in 20 minutes. She then asked if we could do it again this time 80 pounds. I told her I’ll make the seasoning up and let you make it. She called back and they sold out again! We made up some sample packages and gave them out to some folks and we just kept getting more and more requests for our seasoning. This let us know we had something really special and we could actually sell our chili seasoning!
We looked back at the help that my grandmothers words had given us,and she had a set of dishes that she always loved and used daily they were Shawnee Corn dishes. On the front of our chili packet is a picture of our chili in one of her bowls. We hope you enjoy this chili as much as we have.
The Willis Family
Best chili seasoning made by the best people ever :)
- Sarah, Oklahoma City, OK
It doesn't get any better than this chili seasoning. It takes chili all the way to 11 and I can't get enough!
- Phillip, Edmond, OK
Boil these ingredients together in a large pot until the carrots are fork tender on med-high heat. Then remove the ears of corn. Add 3 large potatoes approx. 1 1/2 lbs. cut into bite size cubes and one 15 oz. can of tomatoes any kind or style you prefer. Boil for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Bring the water level up to just barely cover the vegetables. Salt and pepper to taste. After the corn has cooled shave slices of corn from cob. Place soup into bowls and top with shaved corn and approx. 3 Tbls. of already prepared "Willis Chili" this will give your soup rich full flavor and the beautiful red top.
Roll biscuits out with rolling pin to the size of a tortilla. Heat vegetable oil
in skillet to 350 degrees. Gently place a biscuit into the hot oil until lightly brown and turn to brown the other side. Continue until all are browned draining
on a paper towel. Place a fry bread on plate then top with Willis Chili and layer with lettuce, cheese and picante sauce. This is a very quick easy summertime meal that your family is sure to enjoy!