Chillin’ at Chomp and Stomp

My husband and friends claim I’m competitive, so I guess I know where Big A gets it. So in the spirit of family-bonding (and a little friendly competition), I decided to sign up My Little Foodies for Cabbagetown’s Chomp and Stomp Chili Cook-off and Festival.

Big A chops garlic with her trusty plastic knife the night before.

Healthy Nopales (Cactus) Ready for Roasting

Beans, Beans, Good For Your Heart…

The Final Product

I am writing this post after two days of chili madness with two young kids in tow (and a Daddy that was MIA at a conference) for one of the most fun foodie experiences with Big A to date, while at the same time one of the most exhausting.  Thankfully, with the help of My Little Foodies’ grandfather, “Abu”, and some fantastic friends, we managed to serve up over seven gallons of  “Latin Veggie Chili” to droves of Atlantans who acted as if they had not eaten a meal in weeks.

Our Booth

As I lay here splatter-painted in chili, I reflect on a new tradition for my family. From all of the hands-on prep work a few nights prior, to designing and creating our team t-shirts, to setting up and serving our chili, Big A enjoyed every step of the process.  (Little A happily hung out in a pack-and-play and gulped down what turned out to be a very hearty, and surprisingly tasty, chili).

Crowds were drawn to the delicious smells of chili.

A little past noon, herds of people lined up for a cup chock-full of various beans, peppers, and hominy, topped with roasted nopales (cactus) and cotija cheese.  Big A and her friends enjoyed meticulously sprinkling the cheese in every cup, while informing our guests that “Mommy cooked all the spikes out of the cactus, so it’s okay to eat.” Just an hour later, we were filling up used cups and feeding our last desperate visitors straight from the crusty, burnt bottom of the pot.

No more cups, no problem. People happily took spoonfuls at a time to eat.

Big A samples her hard work!

Along the way, we made new friends with our neighbors: to our left, a happy crew dressed up in huge life-size beer mugs, and to our right, a group that brought a professional DJ friend to spin all afternoon. Big A was thrilled to hear her personal requests honored: spanning from classic 80’s rock like “Sister Christian” all the way to the Muppets greatest hits.  Needless to say, this will be a new family tradition for a long time to come. Hope to see you next year!

*After this write-up we found out that My Little Foodies took 2nd in the veggie category and 16th overall (out of 112 teams). *