Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.
...Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.....
I spoke a part of one of those lines one time while cooking for one of my daughter’s many birthday/Halloween costume parties, which we began hosting after her 13th birthday.
Jerusha Jane Jones Key was born 10 days before Halloween on October 21, 1982. So when she decided on her 13th birthday to have her first boy/girl party and a Halloween party as well, combining the two saved me tons of money.
Although Jerusha is no longer with us, recalling her birthday parties will always bring back the many fond memories we have of her. Rusha, as she was called by family and friends, passed away July 6, 2011, at the age of 28 after a 3 1/2 year long courageous battle against breast cancer.
Her birthday/Halloween parties started out simple with just a few of her friends dressing up in their favorite Halloween costumes and getting together at our house for birthday cake and homemade ice cream (which was her favorite).
But it didn’t take long for the adults to get in on the fun as well.
I always got a huge kick out of dressing up as a gypsy fortune teller, which Rusha named Madame Babushka. I even used a water ball/snow globe as my crystal ball to complete the outfit.
The cuisine for those parties evolved over the years as well. Oh, we still had cake and homemade ice cream, but it wasn’t long before I found myself cooking what I consider a full meal.
We always held the parties in the evening time so we could turn on our Halloween decorations to add ambiance to the festivities. Needless to say, everyone was always hungry, and before long we added hot dogs, chips and chili to the menu.
The chili later became known as my “Witches Brew.” One afternoon as I was preparing a pot of it for one of Rusha’s parties, she asked me for the recipe so she could make it for her husband, Justin, and their son, Caden.
As I stirred the bubbling pot of chili, I jokingly recited one of my favorite lines from “Macbeth” — “eye of newt, toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog,” which of course gained me an “Oh, mother!” from my beloved daughter.
But later that evening, when one of our party guests asked what was in the black pot that was sitting on the table, Rusha and her two brothers, Jason and Cory, didn’t hesitate as they chimed in all together with “It’s mother’s witch’s brew, which she said was chili!”
My lovely children always have some snide remark to make about my cooking. In fact, one of their favorite dishes that I fix got it’s name from a snide remark that my adorable oldest son and loving daughter made when they were younger. But that’s another story for another column.
Well, let’s get back to the “Witch’s Brew.” Since it’s getting close to Halloween, I thought I’d share the recipe with all of you. I always made the chili in a large stock pot because I had enough to go around, but the recipe can be cut in half for smaller batches.
So in loving memory of my daughter, Jerusha Jane Jones Key, on what would have been her 30th birthday, I not only hope you enjoy our “Witch’s Brew” chili recipe but also that you make as many cherished memories with your family and friends as I have with mine!