Today, the bean line remains drawn in the sand, sharp as the divide between Red States and Blue, despite a host of modern-day chefs who insist that chili is a creative, eccentric, and open-minded dish for which there are no rules.Chili has been made with everything from venison to buffalo, goat, skunk, jackrabbit, rattlesnake, pork, chicken and hot sausage.Other not-so-traditional chili ingredients include peanuts, chocolate, sherry, blackstrap molasses, raisins, tequila, moonshine, ginger ale, bamboo shoots, artichoke hearts, eggplant, tofu, and zucchini.Food writers Jane and Michael Stern admiringly dubbed this “one of America’s quintessential meals.” But a less-friendly critic calls it a “Z-grade atrocity,” adding: “Don’t let your loved ones eat it.He once said: “Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing.” This led to such a national flurry of recipe requests that Lady Bird Johnson had cards printed with directions for making the president’s favorite: Pedernales River Chili, named for the river near their Texas ranch.One story holds that the dish formally known as chili con carne came from Mexico, based on Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (1568), in which the author describes how the remains of luckless conquistadors, sacrificed and butchered by the Aztecs, were boiled up with hot peppers, wild tomatoes, and oregano.In the 17th century, the story goes, a nun named Sister Mary of Agreda was transported (by angels) from her Spanish convent to western Texas while in a trance.There she brought the word of God to the Jumano Indians and, in exchange, picked up a recipe for chili, which consisted of venison, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers.Others cite the lavenderas, or washerwomen, who followed the Mexican Army in the 1830s and 40s as the first chili makers; and cowboy historians opt for the chuckwagon cooks on the cattle trails.Alternatively, chili may have been a brainstorm of displaced Canary Islanders, sent to what is now San Antonio, in 1730 by order of King Philip V of Spain.These brightly dressed women sold chili to passersby in the city’s Military Square, warming their pots over mesquite fires beside wagons hung with colored lanterns.Visitors were delighted with them, though author Stephen Crane (from New Jersey) commented that their food tasted like “pounded fire-brick from Hades.” O. Henry, who lived in San Antonio in the 1880s, set a short story, “The Enchanted Kiss,” among the Chili Queens, featuring a sinister conquistador who had been kept alive for 400 years on chili, gruesomely concocted from “the flesh of the señorita.”.Rudy Valdez, a member of the Ute Indian tribe, won the world chili championship in 1976 with a native recipe that he claimed dated back 2,000 years.The original chili, according to Valdez, “was made with meat of horses or deer, chile peppers, and cornmeal from ears of stalks that grew only to the knee.” Tellingly, he adds, “No beans.”.Popularized at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where Texas wowed tourists with its San Antonio Chili Stand, the dish spread quickly across the country.“Putting tomatoes in chili is the equivalent of dousing raw oysters with chocolate sauce,” sputtered one Texas journalist.To kick it off, here’s one of the earliest printed recipes for chili, found in the 1896 Manual for Army Cooks and designed for an individual mess kit:. .
The Great Chili Debate: Beans or No Beans?
They build mesquite fires on the square to keep the chili warm, lighted the wagons with colored lanterns, and squatted on the ground beside the cart, dishing out chili to customers who sat on wooden stools to eat the delightful and fiery stew.".In her cookbook United Tastes of Texas, author Jessica Dupuy writes that chili does have strong ties to Texas, even though the dish was created long before: "While many Texans might choke on a spoonful of their own bowl of red at the notion, the origins of chili really come from south of the border, in South America.As chili parlors spread like wildfire across the country in the mid-1900s, the dish took on many different forms, including some with beans.Today, chili is considered a regional dish—served over spaghetti in Ohio, spooned onto Coney-style hot dogs in Michigian, and made with green chiles and pork in New Mexico, to name a few. .
Chili History, Legends and Recipes, Whats Cooking America
According to an old Southwestern Native American legend and tale (several modern writer have documented – or maybe just passed along) it is said that the first recipe for chili con carne was put on paper in the 17th century by a beautiful nun, Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain.She was mysteriously known to the Natives of the Southwest United States as “La Dama de Azul,” the lady in blue.When she awoke from these trances, she said her spirit had been to a faraway land where she preached Christianity counseled others to seek out Spanish missionaries.It is said that sister Mary wrote down the recipe for chili which called for venison or antelope meat, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers.The King of Spain felt that colonization would help cement Spanish claims to the region and block France’s westward expansion from Louisiana.A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as “hot as hell’s brimstone” and “Soup of the Devil.” The priest’s warning probably contributed to the dish’s popularity.It is thought that the chile peppers used in the earliest dishes were probably chilipiquo, which grow wild on bushes in Texas, particularly the southern part of the state.There was another group of Texans known as “Lavanderas,” or “Washerwoman,” that followed around the 19th-century armies of Texas making a stew of goat meat or venison, wild marjoram, and chile peppers.1881 – William Gerard Tobin (1833-1884), former Texas Ranger, hotel proprietor, and an advocate of Texas-type Mexican food, negotiated with the United States government to sell canned chili to the army and navy.In 1884, he organized a venture with the Range Canning Company at Fort McKavett, Texas to make chili from goat meat.1895 – Lyman T. Davis of Corsicana, Texas made chili that he sold from the back of a wagon for five cents a bowl with all the crackers you wanted.An authoritative early account is provided in an article published in the July 1927 issue of Frontier Times .In this article, Frank H.
Bushick, San Antonio Commissioner of Taxation, reminisces about the Chili Queens and their origin at Military Plaza before they were moved to Market Square in 1887.1937 – In 1937 they were put out of business due to their inability to conform to sanitary standards enforced in the town’s restaurants (public officials objected to flies and poorly washed dishes).Recent action of the city health department in ordering removal from Haymarket square of the chili queens and their stands brought an end to a 200-year-old tradition.The chili queens made their first appearance a couple of centuries back after a group of Spanish soldiers camped on what is now the city hall site and gave the place the name, Military Plaza.According to Tax Commissioner Frank Bushick, a contemporary and a historian of those times, the greatest of all the queens was no Mexican but an American named Sadie.They were restored by Mayor Maury Maverick in 1939, but their stands were closed again shortly after the start of World War II.It is said that local cowboys jeered his elegant appearance (he was wearing a long frock coat and a tall silk hat) as he stepped onto the dusty street.By 1890, after his grocery store burned down, he started selling his own unique blend of chiles to cafes, hotels, and citizens under the name of Mexican Chili Supply Company .Pendery wrote of the medicinal benefits of his condiments and its acclamation from physicians: selling his own brand of “Chiltomaline” powder to cafes and hotels in the early 1890s.There was a deer pen, an alligator pit and ring for fighting badgers at the original Phoenix Saloon.His orders for chile peppers were always large because he had to stock up on a full year’s supply and then figure out how to store thousands of chilie pods.Later, according to a description of the time, Gebhardt “concocted a chili powder in a crude mill by grinding chile peppers, cumin seed, oregano, and black pepper through an old hammer mill, feeding a little of this and a little of that to the mill.” What came out was put in little-necked bottles and then packed in a box for retail trade.”.In 1896, William Gebhardt opened a factory in San Antonio and was producing five cases of chili powder a week, which he sold from the back of his wagon as he drove through town.In addition to recipes, the booklet proposed sample menus that included Gebhardt products into otherwise mainstream meals.The Dictionary of American Regional English describes chili joints as: “A small cheap restaurant, particularly one that served poor quality food.”.This resolution, which was passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature, proclaimed Illinois as the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World” and recognized that the spelling is C-H-I-L-L-I.The Governor was further “authorized and requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the people of Illinois to commemorate this designation with appropriate celebrations.” Naturally this outrages Texans!1936 to 2000 – For years, he came to the restaurant every Sunday to privately cook up a batch, which he would freeze for the week, believing that the chili was best when reheated.Chauffeurs and studio people, actors and actresses would come to the back door of Chasen’s to buy and pick up the chili by the quart.Other famous people craved this chili such as comedian and actor Jack Benny (1894-1974) who ordered it by the quart.It is said that Chasen’s also send chili to movie actor Clark Gable (1901-1960), when he was in the hospital (he reportedly had it for dinner the night he died).On October 5, 1952, headlines of The Daily Times Herald of Dallas, Texas said “Woman Wins But Men Do Well in Chili Event.”.Joe E. Cooper is quoted as saying: “Besides that, it’ll take a lot of judges because after the first two or three spoonfuls of good, hot Texas-style chili, the fine edge wears off even an expert chili judge’s taste buds… It’ll be a hot job but one that no true Texan will shirk.”.Terlingua was once a thriving mercury-mining town of 5,000 people and it is the most remote site your can choose as it is not close to any major city and the nearest commercial airport is almost 279 miles away.It was a two-man cook-off between Texas chili champ Homer “Wick” Fowler (1909-1972), a Dallas and Denton newspaper reporter, and H. Allen Smith (1906-1976), New York humorist and author, which ended in a tie.When Frank Tolbert (1912-1984), famous journalist and author of A Bowl of Red , saw Smith’s article, he started open warfare in the press with a column he wrote for the Dallas News.The cook-off competition ended in a tie vote when the tie-breaker judge, Dave Witts, a Dallas lawyer and self-proclaimed mayor of Terlingua, spat out his chili, declaring that his taste buds were “ruint,” and said they would have to do the whole thing over again next year.According to Gary Cartwright, writer for Sports Illustrated, the blindfolded judge number three, David Witts, was given a spoonful of chili which he promptly spit out all over the referee’s foot.He rammed a white handerkerchief down his throat as though he were cleaning a rifle barrel, and in an agonizing whisper Witts pronounced himself unable to go on.”.Will Rogers (1879-1935), popular actor, cattleman, banker, and journalist, called chili “bowl of blessedness.”.Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the old American West, refused to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite chili parlor was located.It is said that Chasen’s also send chili to movie actor Clark Gable (1901-1960), when he was in the hospital (he reportedly had it for dinner the night he died).by Ken Finlay, singer, songwriter, and owner of Cheatham Street Warehouse (a music hall in San Marcos), written in 1976. .
Chili history: There are no beans in San Antonio's specialty.
The core ingredients of chili are “fiery envy, scalding jealousy, scorching contempt, and sizzling scorn,” wrote New York author H. Allen Smith, in a 1967 essay for Holiday magazine.In it, Smith denounces Texas and all its claims to chili dominance, and his piece culminates in a wildly misguided recipe with a special New York twist.“To create chili without beans, either added to the pot or served on the side,” he writes, “is to flout one of the basic laws of nature.”.Predictably, Smith’s column burned up the Lone Star State, where chili was born, and where it certainly doesn’t contain beans.The great Texas journalist Frank X. Tolbert wrote in his Dallas Morning News column that what Smith called chili was a mere vegetable stew.In what came to be known as the Great Chili Confrontation, Fowler represented Texas; Smith spoke for New York and the rest of the wide world.The dish of meat, cooked up with dried chilies and spices, got its start in San Antonio, rising in prominence with the city’s fortunes during the Mexican-American War.The women known as the Chili Queens of San Antonio had set up shop in the fort town’s airy plazas decades before that war—earlier, even, than the Texas Revolution that preceded it.Generations of these women, mostly but not entirely of Hispanic descent, cooked chili and other wares over open fires from dusk till dawn.Stephen Crane, the author of The Red Badge of Courage, described chili as “pounded fire-brick from Hades,” which sounds like a surefire compliment if I’ve ever heard one.In the 1904 short story “The Enchanted Kiss,” which is set in turn-of-the-century San Antonio, O.
Henry describes “the delectable chili-con-carne, a dish evolved by the genius of Mexico, composed of delicate meats minced with aromatic herbs and the poignant chili colorado.” At no point was chili made with beans: This we know from star-struck accounts of foreign visitors, even if we don’t have the recipes used by the Chili Queens themselves, who were eventually evicted by NIMBY authorities citing health code concerns.Tolbert traced the history of chili throughout the state for the Dallas Morning News, where he started as a columnist in 1946.So when a cookbook author like Mark Bittman writes—in How to Cook Everything—that chili means “slow-cooked red beans seasoned with cumin and chiles,” he betrays his ignorance of the dish and its history.Similarly, when Julia Moskin claims in the New York Times (as she did this month) that Texans “do not have a lock on authenticity” when it comes to chili, she disregards the very history that brought it to prominence.Another one is frijoles borrachos, a winter staple in my household: dried beans simmered long and low with a ham hock or salt pork and half a six-pack.Frankly, Texans are all too happy to share for the Super Bowl the party we’ve been enjoying for a couple hundred years. .
Should Chili Have Beans?
In fact, this controversial topic was recently brought to light by the wildly popular Paramount Network show Yellowstone.Anyone who’s up to date on season 4 knows that along with the beautiful Montana scenery and Dutton family drama, the show is also full of plenty of horsing around among the Yellowstone cowboys.Such was the case in the last episode of the season where Jimmy and his new fiancée make one final appearance at the bunkhouse before heading off to the 6666 Ranch in Texas.And, despite only leaving the Yellowstone ranch for a short time, Jimmy takes the official state dish of Texas very seriously.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. .
Chili con carne
Recipes provoke disputes among aficionados, some of whom insist that the word chili applies only to the basic dish, without beans and tomatoes.In writings from 1529, the Franciscan friar, Bernardino de Sahagún described chili pepper-seasoned stews being consumed in the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, now the location of Mexico City. Unlike some other Texas foods, such as barbecued brisket, chili largely originated with working-class Tejana and Mexican women.San Antonio was a tourist destination and helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout the South and West.Before World War II, hundreds of small, family-run chili parlors could be found throughout Texas and other states, particularly those in which émigré Texans had made new homes.Cincinnati chili, a dish developed by Macedonian and Greek immigrants deriving from their own culinary traditions, arguably represents the most vibrant continuation of the chili parlor tradition, with dozens of restaurants offering this style throughout the Cincinnati area.As with Cincinnati chili, it is most commonly served over spaghetti with oyster crackers, but the recipe is less sweet with a higher proportion of fat.It featured a chili-topped dish called a slinger: two cheeseburger patties, hash browns, and two eggs, and smothered in chili.Hodge-branded locations remain, though Tully's Tap, a pub and restaurant in O'Fallon, Missouri, offers what it claims to be the original O.T.He also believed that chili should never be eaten freshly cooked, but refrigerated overnight to seal in the flavor.Matt Weinstock, a Los Angeles newspaper columnist, once remarked that Fowler's chili "was reputed to open eighteen sinus cavities unknown to the medical profession".Variants may contain corn, squash, sautéed mushrooms, pearl onions, shallots or beets.The dish may be served with toppings or accompaniments; grated cheese, diced onions, and sour cream are common toppings, as are saltine crackers, tortilla chips or corn chips, cornbread, rolled-up corn or flour tortillas, and pork tamales.Willie Gebhardt, originally of New Braunfels, Texas, and later of San Antonio, produced the first canned chili in 1908.Rancher Lyman Davis near Corsicana, Texas, developed Wolf Brand Chili in 1895.In 1921, Davis began canning his product, naming it for his pet wolf, Kaiser Bill.Wolf Brand canned chili was a favorite of Will Rogers, who always took along a case when traveling and performing in other regions of the world.Ernest Tubb, the country singer, was such a fan that one Texas hotel maintained a supply of Wolf Brand for his visits.Both the Gebhardt and Wolf brands are now owned by ConAgra Foods, Inc. Another major maker of canned chili, Hormel, sells chili available with or without beans, made with turkey or in vegetarian varieties, under their own name and other brands like Stagg.It was produced by pressing out nearly all of the moisture, leaving a solid substance roughly the size and shape of a half-brick.Home cooks may also purchase seasoning mixes for chili, including packets of dry ingredients such as chili powder, masa flour, salt, and cayenne pepper, to flavor meat and other ingredients. .
To Bean or Not to Bean: The Chronicles of Texas Chili
As smoke rose from small fires, so too did the scents; earthy guajillo, pasilla, ancho chiles, and tough cuts.The aromas beckoned the empty bellies making their way to San Antonio’s Market Square.This is where the action took place when the orange haze of the sun gave way to the subtle glow of campfires in the Texas moonlight.Vendors of wares, ranging from exotic birds to pecans and honey, venison, wild turkey, and beef, filled the streets of San Antonio.The Plaza de Armas bustled with musicians, workers, visitors, locals, and most notably, the Chili Queens.However, it is more likely that early 17th century Spanish settlers of the area (that is now San Antonio) made a hearty stew for their families, giving way to the food today known as chili.It was made popular by the cowboys of the 18th century, as the food served them well on long cattle drives.Jane Butel, the well-known author and television host who specializes in all things Southwest, Tex-Mex, and chile related, tells a different story, one about beans.Butel’s maternal grandfather worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and theorized with his granddaughter about how chili recipes became varied across the country.Grandad said the reason why Midwestern chili had beans, and tomatoes, and other foreign objects in it is that while the cattle drives were passing into Oklahoma, sometimes the pot would get thin.In fact, the Chili Queens left such an impression, that they inspired writers to include references to their dishes.The allure of their physical charms, matched by the bravado of their cooking skills, was so memorable, authors romanticized about them.An old Southwestern American Indian legend, dating back to the 17th century, tells of Sister Mary Agreda of Spain.Likely passed to the Native Americans by Spanish missionaries that traveled across the ocean, the tale describes that the nun would go into trances for days on end, awaking to describe her missions to foreign lands, although she had never left her native Spain.Toppings to suit your taste: diced tomatoes, grated cheddar cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, diced jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, chopped green onions, black olives, tortilla chips, or fresh corn tortillas, scorched in an iron skillet.Heat the oil to medium high in a large soup pot, preferably cast iron. .
Where Was Chili Invented?
When the weather turns cold outside, many kids look forward to special treats to warm their tummies when they come inside from making snow angels and sledding.A quick glance inside the pot reveals the presence of a thick soup or stew that's sure to delight.From mild to hot, chili can feature different types of peppers, meats, spices, and even beans and noodles in some versions.Some would say that ancient man probably figured out how to combine meat and peppers into a tasty stew thousands of years ago.An old legend holds that immigrants from the Canary Islands brought a recipe for chili with them when they settled San Antonio in the early 1700s.It's not uncommon to find regional varieties of chili that also feature tomato sauce and/or pasta noodles. .