The Superhero’s Favorite Chili

The Superhero

By Patti Maxwell

Like everyone younger than logic, she was fearless. Flying high on wings of inexperience, she took risks most learn to avoid and tempted Fate at every turn.  She lived in a Land far from reality.  She was eternally optimistic: there was plenty of time to grow up, time to move on, time to get ready, and time to get ahead. She had, after all, all the time in the world.  There were endless Tomorrows stretched out ahead of her.  Playing fast and loose, she beat odds she didn’t even know were against her. She was invincible, indestructible, immortal.

And then one day, her Land was invaded by a Monster and his legions. They assaulted many of her givens, and caused the rest to take shelter in denial. The air became rank with fear, as the Monster’s bombs of destruction exploded first here, then there, threatening the very way of life throughout the Land. She had never thought something like that could happen to her, and she was terrified.

But the one thing she wasn’t was dumb. She quickly realized that the Monster could not be allowed to run rampant though the Land, and that he had to be stopped before everything was destroyed. Casting fear and denial aside, she dug out her best cape, always useful back in her flying days, and put it on. And she became the first Superhero the Land had known.

She fought with all her might, long and hard and desperately. There were times when she was down, wounded and tired, but she quickly got up again, took up her sword, and resumed the battle. The war raged for many months, and though she won some and lost some, she never lost her will to survive. She fought on, until one day she realized the Monster was gone. She had won.

After the war was over and the smoke had cleared, she looked around and surveyed the rubble left behind. Many parts of the Land had been ravaged. Where once there had been bounty, there was now barrenness. Structures had been flattened. Expectations had been unalterably altered.

But she knew the Land could be rebuilt, and it was. New structures were erected, looking as good as those taken down by the Monster. The seeds of new prosperity were planted, and new expectations developed.

But one unexpected outcome of the war was her realization that life in the Land was perhaps not as eternal as she had once thought. Perhaps there really wasn’t all the time in the world. Though one might suppose that this was a bad outcome, one would be wrong. After having fought and won against the evil Monster, the Land was moved closer to reality and life was made forever better. Foundations and armaments were reinforced, made stronger than before to protect against any future attacks. Social programs were put into place to prepare the Land to be more self-sufficient and successful in the future.
So while she occasionally missed the wild and free antics she’d enjoyed before the Monster came, she was happier than ever before. She had learned that, true, there were not endless Tomorrows laid out in front of her, but Today was a much better place.

She never really put away her cape after the war, though. Battered and torn though it was, she kept it nearby, just in case she might need it again. She was a Superhero, after all.

Recipe: The Superhero’s Favorite Chili


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (28-29) oz. can of peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper (red pepper)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Chili powder to taste (we use 6-7 tbls.)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • Sharp cheddar cheese (grated or shredded)
  • Sour cream


  1. Brown the ground beef.. Drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté the onions, green pepper, and garlic until soft.
  3. Add the ground beef to the vegetables.
  4. Add the tomatoes, spices, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cook over low heat for several hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the kidney beans one hour before serving, and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Serve with cheddar cheese and sour cream on top.

Quick Notes

* Try Del Monte “Zesty Diced Tomatoes with Chopped Jalapeno Peppers” for part of the tomatoes. It’s a good addition!

Patti, thank you so much for contributing this story about your daughter, your Superhero, and this delicious recipe <3 Rachel and Tricia

about Patti: I am a retired consultant who worked for years in documentation and training for the corporate world.  After doing all that writing for others, when I retired, I decided to write for myself.  My primary blog, which is mostly creative writing, is PattiKen and the Muses, and it contains links to my three others which feature creative non-fiction, photography and fun stuff.

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