• Contrary to what you might think, chili didn’t originate in Mexico. It’s origin still isn’t agreed upon, but there are many stories about it.
• One theory is that chili was a staple of mid-19th century cattle drives and that dried beef, chile peppers, fat, salt, and pepper were pounded into portable rectangles that could be rehydrated with boiling water for an easy meal.
• In the 1860’s Texas prisons became known for their chili to the point that prisoners rated jails on the quality of the dish they could make. It was such a hit that freed inmates reportedly wrote in asking for the recipes, saying they sorely missed their chili.
• A San Antonio market started selling “bowls o’red” in the late 1800s from food booths known as chili stands. They caught on so well that in 1893 there was a San Antonio Chili Stand at the Chicago World’s Fair.
• Chili was declared the State Food of Texas in 1977.
• President Johnson was a big fan of chili and this became a known fact - to the point that the White House received so many requests for the Johnson Family Chili Recipe that the first lady had recipe cards printed for easier mail correspondence.
• Cincinnati-style chili is quite different from what you’ll find in Texas and came from two Greek brothers that used their own Mediterranean blend of spices and piled the red sauce, beans, and meat on a bed of spaghetti.
• Accompaniments for chili tend to vary by region with cornbread being popular in the south and peanut butter sandwiches in the midwest. Popular toppings include shredded cheese, onions, corn chips, and oyster crackers.
How do you like your chili?