By MATT CRANE
With the winter months still ahead, Mississippi State University graduate student Kent Sparrow is putting a new twist on a classic cold-weather dish: chili.
Growing up with a family dedicated to good food, Sparrow said he discovered this recipe last year.
"It's my aunts' recipe who used to own a restaurant called The Chili House," he said. "It's a family recipe of ours and they have other recipes from my grandmother that I love to cook."
Sparrow said he began cooking with his father as a child and has always enjoyed the camaraderie found in the kitchen.
"I just love everyone being together," he said. "It's always a fun time with friends when you're sharing a meal."
With a family known for its cajun-style flair in the kitchen, Sparrow said the sausage and black-eyed pea chili recipe is a welcome change from traditional dishes.
"It's definitely not as common as a beef chili, and it's spicy and has a creole feel to it," he said. "Our family likes to cook food with a New Orleans style to it."
A graduate student in the geosciences department at MSU, Sparrow said he hopes to one day work for the The National Weather Service, working closely with NOAA forecasting and studying atmospheric science.
"As a graduate student, I'm usually studying and working on my thesis, but when I'm not, cooking is definitely one of my hobbies," he said. "When you're focusing on cooking, it takes your mind off the studying and the pressures graduate school can bring."
Although the recipe has set ingredients, Sparrow said he likes to experiment in the kitchen with the dishes he prepares.
"It's fun to throw thing in there that aren't necessarily in the recipe because I like to add a kick to stuff," he said. "This dish honestly isn't that spicy, so people making it can put however much they want in."
With colder weather still to come, Sparrow said this chili recipe is perfect for anyone looking to warm up during the next few months.
"It's a fantastic winter time dish," he said. "It's a little spicy and it's warm and great comfort food during these winter months."
For similar dishes, visit http://www.thechilihouse.com .