He figures it takes 25 minutes to prepare his chili and another two hours to cook it.

And once again, Mayor Mike Brown of Grand Forks joined those who took part this week in the 15th annual Empty Bowls Soup Day.

Proceeds from the event held each year in the gymnasium of St. Michael’s School go to hunger relief programs of St. Joseph’s Social Care and Thrift Store, 620 Eighth Ave. S.

Mayor’s chili

So how does he make his chili?

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Mayor Brown uses the following ingredients:

3 pounds ground beef (or 1 ½ pounds each of beef and venison)

1 ½ pounds ground pork

1 ½ pounds bacon, coarsely chopped

1 can red beans

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

6 cups tomatoes, diced

3 large cans tomato puree

2 large cans tomato juice

1 onion, chopped

1 ½ cups celery, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 ½ tablespoons sugar (or to taste)

2 ½ tablespoons cumin

1 ½ teaspoon oregano

1 tablespoon chili powder

¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 red bell peppers, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste



The Mayor cooks the meat and onions in a large pot or Dutch Oven; browning it and draining the fat.

He adds remaining ingredients and brings them to a boil. Then he reduces the heat. He covers and simmers his chili for one to two hours.

Suggested garnish is chopped cilantro and shredded cheese.

Hand painted bowls

Along with soup, there’s always a silent auction at the annual Soup Day. All guests, who make a minimum donation of $20, go away with a hand painted bowls. Some buy extra bowls.

The bowls are painted by community groups. And around 1,000 were given out at the supper and purchased at the silent auction. Vaaler Insurance Co. was winner in the category for best design by area businesses.

This year, there was an attendance of around 500 at the supper, according to Mickey Munson. He’s the new director of St. Joseph’s Social Care and Thrift Store at 620 8th Ave. S. He succeeds JoAnn Brundin who had been director for 19 years.

There were nine different soups. And the knephla soup made by Sara Munson was first to go.

Desserts for the soup supper are provided by members of Catholic churches including St. Michael’s, St. Mary’s, Holy Family and the Newman Center at UND.

Pie making priest

Among guests at the Monday soup supper was Phil Ackerman, a priest who formerly served Holy Family Church in Grand Forks for 12 years. For the past five years, he has been at St. Alphonsus Church in Langdon.

If he is asked anywhere to bring a pie, he makes it himself. Maybe sour cream raisin or lemon meringue.

“Of course,” he said. “I do not lie.”

For the crust, he uses 1 cup of flour, ½ cup of Crisco, ¼ cup of water. And he uses a Kitchen Aid mixer.

Fr. Ackerman said his twin sister, Phyllis Moen, who formerly lived in Grand Forks has moved to Mesa, Ariz.