Standing the taste of time

Tracy Fire Department Auxiliary members, from left: Missie Erbes, Amber West, Heather Rolling and Shea Pedersen spent a good portion of their day Wednesday preparing meat for this year’s chili feed. Photo / Per Peterson

There’s tradition, and then there’s the Tracy Fire Department Auxiliary Chili Feed.

Last Thursday during Fire Prevention Week, the Auxiliary continued a tradition that began sometime in the 1950s — serving up a chili recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Some believe it might just be the original recipe that was used in the 1950s.

Why mess with success, right?

“I remember coming as a little girl,” said Missie Erbes, who has been with the Auxiliary for 20 years. “When I started doing this when Mike joined the fire department, this is what they did — it’s never changed. The technique to cooking maybe has changed from cast-iron skillets, but the actual based recipe has never changed.”

Over time, the event has blossomed into a major fundraiser. And the amount of food served has as well, from 50 gallons a couple of decades ago, to 150 this year.

“We increased our batches this year — instead of the traditional 120 pounds of ground meat, this year we did 135 pounds of ground meat,” Erbes said.

See more in this week’s paper!