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A couple of weekends ago I was thinking about something different to eat besides the usual bar-be-que fare we usually have on weekends or wings or pizza. I had a bit of a cold – more likely the flu – and craved something warm. I got to thinking about chili. Absolutely, no beans chili. The kind of chili you get at the Hidden Grill or 14th Street Grill or the Old Pool Room that was torn down many years ago now.

I remembered my wife, Dolly, cooking chili like I like from a recipe in a book published by the Russell County Historical Commission. I do not remember how long ago the book was published, but Caroline Batcheldor gave it to us when I worked for the Russell County Water Authority. I found the book. It was quite worn from use over the years. I located the recipe I wanted and my wife cooked up a pot. Every drop was eaten. None wasted at all.

While looking for the recipe, I noticed for the first time that the book included photos and the histories of historical homes in our area. I should have realized this was the case by the book’s title – “Southern Homes and Recipes.” The Bass-Perry-Greene home, now known as “Magnolia Greene Mansion,” graced the cover. While the book does not list a year of publication, it does list the presidents of the Russell County Historical Commission with William J. Benton, Sr. listed as the president in 1987 which is the most current year shown. If you can find a copy of the book, I recommend you purchase it – provided it is for sale. It is filled with fantastic recipes. Most of the recipes were handed down from one generation of family to the next. They as just as historical as the homes sprinkled between the sections of the book’s pages.

Some of the recipes come with stories relating to the history of the recipes or of the families of the people who shared the recipes. Thanksgiving is coming in a couple of weeks and I know you will all have plenty of traditional food for the festive holiday. I am sure after a couple of days you will tire of turkey or ham sandwiches. So, I am going to give you a few alternative recipes to consider after you have had your fill of Thanksgiving food. I will begin with the chili recipe I searched for a couple of week’s back. The book calls the recipe “Sis’s Chili,” but when my wife first got the recipe from the lady who contributed it to the book, it was referred to as “Depression Chili.” Here it is:


My Mother, Abbie (Sis) Poole, lost my father after only eight years of marriage, leaving two children, Mitchell, 6 years old, and myself, 11 months. She opened a small store to sell a few groceries and hot dogs and chili on the weekend. Her first store was Jackson’s store on 9th Street (now 20th Street). The streetcar turned around there and went back to Columbus. Later she built her own store at the end of 20th Street and 13thAvenue, where the bus made its loop and a lot of people got off. She had one of the first radios in the neighborhood and people stopped to hear the radio before going home. Her recipe for chili is very similar to what is referred to as “Pool Room Chili” now. She taught me how to make it and I have taught my son Tommy. – Dorothy Poole Boswell

3 pounds ground beef

2 potatoes

Black pepper


1 quart warm water

1 large onion

Garlic salt

Chili powder

Break up good ground beef in warm water with your hands. Add grated onion and potatoes to meat. Generously add pepper, salt and garlic salt. Add chili powder until it has the red chili color. Cook for several hours.

You can increase all of this to make any amount you want by increasing the potatoes, onions and chili powder in proportion to the meat.

Her son Tommy, of course, was the late Sheriff Tommy Boswell.


This recipe has been in the Gullatt family for at least four generations. Maggie Rutledge Gullatt, wife of Claude Bertram Gullatt, served it at many family gatherings during her lifetime. Julia Hornsby Gullatt, wife of C.B. Gullatt, Jr., passed this recipe on to her daughter, Julia Gullatt Ezell, whose children also serve this delicious stew. Brunswick Stew has been one of my favorite recipes over the years. – Jane Gullatt

2 to 3 pounds lean pork

1 cup diced potatoes

2 cans tomatoes (3 cans if more pork is used)

3 medium onions

1 can LeSeur English peas, drained

1 can cream corn

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon chili powder

Cook pork in salted water until tender. Drain and cut up real fine with scissors. Cook potatoes until half done. Cover bottom of big boiler with cooking oil. Cut up onions in grease and sauté. Add chopped pork. Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons flour over meat and stir. Add tomatoes, peas, corn and potatoes. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt. Cut heat low and simmer about an hour stirring occasionally.


A very old recipe handed down from my grandmother, Mittie Duke, to her daughter, Addie Duke Harris, my mother, and then to me. – Myrtle Harris Conway

1 – 3-pound chicken

2 cups chicken broth

1 can cream of celery soup

2 hard-boiled eggs

¼ cup melted butter

1 can milk

1 cup self-rising flour

Dash of pepper

Cook chicken with some chopped celery and onions, salt and pepper. Cut chicken into bite-size when done, mix with soup broth. Grease a 2-quart casserole, put in the chicken, sprinkle with boiled eggs. Pour broth over all. Make a mixture of the butter, flour, pepper and milk, pour over the chicken mixture. DO NOT STIR. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves about four.