It’s the perfect time of year for for a good old-fashioned chili feast. Serve up a traditional chili bar and make it a neighborhood affair.
The chili and condiments:
Cook a mild chili but offer it with lots of spicy condiments. That way you’ll please all palates—from kids to folks who think chili should make your tastebuds howl. Hot sauces, sliced jalapeños, and picked hot peppers should do the trick.
For those who like a cooler version, offer sour cream and cheddar cheese. Equip the chili bar with bunches of fresh cilantro and diced tomatoes for a fresh touch. Tasty and pretty.
Offer corn chips and salsa for people to build their own nachos. It’s also an all-around kid pleaser.
Set out french fries for some delicious chili fries. Baked potatoes work nicely for topping with chili too.
While beer is the traditional beverage of choice for chili, make sure you have some fun non-alcoholic beverages on hand too. Mexican and fruit-flavored sodas offer color and flair. If you’re feeling super bold, try offering horchata. If wine is more your thing, try pairing chili with a dry rose.
The set up:
Chili is down home at its finest, let your bar reflect that. Line a table with brown paper (postal paper works great for this). Use inexpensive mason jars for drinking glasses and serve chili out of a large pot sat right on the table.
How to get the neighbors involved:
Throwing a bash can be labor intensive. Try enlisting the help of a neighbor or two with grocery store runs or swinging by early to help you set up.
Have a neighbor who loves to talk about his famous chili? Invite him! In fact, you could have a few neighbors cook up a batch of chili and turn your bash into a friendly cook off. Collect votes for the favorite and present a ribbon to the winner.
And last but not least, ask guests ahead of time if there are any food allergies. Checking ahead goes a long, long way in showing neighbors you care.