Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


When I was growing up, one of my favorite canned recipes that came from my Grandparents kitchen was the chili sauce (like this, but better).  The chili sauce I ate was a sweet, spiced, vinegar-y tomato sauce that was served as a side dish to beef.  This wasn’t made all the time, not every year – it was like a total afterthought to extra tomatoes.

As I got older, I realized nobody was making this but my Grandfather every once in a while.  So, I went to his house one day and asked for the recipe.  He went to an ANCIENT book with recipes taped to the pages.  He came to a page with a handwritten recipe on it called, “Mrs. Bingley’s Tomato Chili”.  The Bingley’s were a family that lived in the village of Bancroft, Massachusetts where my Grandparents lived.  Mr. Bingley even built me a little wooden chair when I was born that I have to this day – my cousin Craig refinished it and my kids still sit in it.  That recipe must be well over one hundred years old.  And today, I present it you. No strings, no copyrights, it’s for you to enjoy and if you don’t, you’re the worse for it.


  • 18 Large Tomatoes, peeled and diced (I used a #10 can of whole tomatoes)
  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 4 large bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups of cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tsp. of allspice
  • 1 ½ tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. of cloves
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. of salt


Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot (8 quarts or so) and bring to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered for 3 hours until thickened. 


Can in pint jars in boiling water for 20 minutes.

It’s so good, sweet and tangy – a perfect side to almost anything, but especially beef.  It’s also a great addition to meatloaf.


March 22, 2009 - Posted by | Recipe, Side Dish

1 Comment »

  1. Or combined with grape jelly and then “teeny weenies” and toothpicks!

    Comment by breadchick | March 26, 2009 | Reply

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