Every month, our office holds a “Gratitude Lunch” which is a chance for the Realtors, staff, and affiliates who office with us to enjoy lunch together in the office, plus we say Happy Birthday to any who have a birthday that month. We make up a calendar for the year with themes for each month, associating some of the lunches with a service project, e.g., bring in office supplies for kids in need in late summer. Everyone brings something for the meal and we all enjoy a break from work and some much-needed social time together.
The theme this month was a Chili Cookoff. Knowing that the variations of chili being made so far were along the lines of traditional red chili, it got me to wondering how people make their own chili special, so that became my ongoing question. Numerous clients and friends were polled for what made their chili special or for what they liked best about chili. In addition to various recipes, I discovered a few things.
First, almost without exception, when I asked people about it, it made people smile. I think as humans, we like thinking about gathering together, and that tends to be what chili is part of. It generates thoughts of warmth against the cold and of snuggling up with good food, family and friends, and perhaps a movie or game night.
Second, it generates additional conversation, eliciting memories of times shared.
Third, it generates some great recipes for chili and cornbread. It also tells me who likes to cook and who doesn’t.
When I first meet people, I like to learn about them. Beyond the typical, “What do you do for a living?”, there are questions that I ask that tell me far more about people. Relationship questions tend to shed the greatest light, so those are my favorite. Asking, “How did you first meet?” or “Who spotted who first?” when I sit down with a new client couple tells me so much about them. Beyond the basics of the story itself, I see how they honor (or don’t) one another, and the flood of memories tells me more about how they work on things together. I find that just listening well to what they tell me will shed light on how things work best for them and how I can make the process better for them. And for the few through the years that I’ve met who do not honor one another in that series of questions and answers, it gives me pause. If my clients don’t honor each other, how can I expect to be treated with respect?
Those relationship questions are impossible to ask though when it doesn’t apply to the situation. But… asking about food just might. I suppose if they don’t cook, it could be a problem. Although… I had a friend once when asked to furnish a recipe for her favorite Christmas cookie for a cookie exchange gave me a creative one, typed, on an index card, that had only three ingredients: her purse, her keys, and her coat. Directions: Drive to the store and purchase your favorite cookies. Bring them home and artfully arrange them on a decorative plate and enjoy! But my inquiries this week did yield an idea, which I turned into my own version of White Chicken Chili. It turned out tasty and will be made again.
So, my question for you as I hope you are enjoying your weekend… what’s YOUR favorite chili to make? I might need another recipe when I get back from delivering an offer to my seller!