Interesting Chili History
1977 - The Texas legislature officially proclaimed chili
the official "state food" of Texas "in recognition
of the fact that the only real 'bowl of red' is that prepared
is said that Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado
of the old American West, once gave up a chance to rob
a bank in McKinney, Texas because that is where his favorite
chili parlor was located.
to music there is nothing that lifts the
spirits and strengthens the soul more than
a good bowl of chili."
Harry James (1916-1983) band
leader and trumpeter
I had time for just one more bowl of chili."
Alleged dying words of Kit
Carson (1809-1868), Frontiers Man and Mountain
powder makes you crazy"
quote - I think a famous chili cook-off winner said this.
The following song has become the anthem at every Terlingua Chili
Cook-Off, where no chili with beans recipes are allowed to
If You Know Beans
You Know That Chili Has No Beans
by Ken Finlay, singer, songwriter,
and owner of
Cheatham Street Warehouse
(a music hall in San Marcos), written
You burn some mesquite
And when the coals get hot
You bunk up some meat
And you throw it on a pot.
While some chile pods and garlic
And comino and stuff
Then you add a little salt
Till there's just enough
You can throw in some onions
To make it smell good
You can even add tomatoes
If you feel like you should
But if you know beans about chili
You know that chili has no beans
If you know beans about chili
You know it didn't come from Mexico
Chili was God's gift to Texas
(Or maybe it came from down below)
And chili doesn't go with macaroni
And dammed Yankee's don't go with chili queens;
And if you know beans about chili
You know that chili has no beans
picture to the left shows an open air chili market with tables
in San Antonio in the late 19th Century.
And speaking of the 19th Century...............
Here's what they were saying
about hot peppers, chili and other great foods way back
in 19th Century American "periodicals".
The first quote was clearly
written by a Yankee who was unable to understand the finer
points of Texas cuisine.:
From - The American Congo. [Scribner's magazine. / Volume 15, Issue
5, May, 1894]
"A visit to these Rio
Grande "tecaruchos" cannot be recommended; the accommodations
are the meagrest imaginable; lucky indeed will be the
guest who shall be invited to partake of came seca (jerked
beef) broken up and fried in grease with scalding hot
chilchipines (a fiery pepper growing wild in Texas and
Mexico, and forming the basis of Tabasco sauce); cabrito,
or goat meat, made into a stew with fri- joles and the
wild tomato, tortillas, slapped on the table every few
minutes by the none too clean hands of the fair daughters
of the house, who attend to the culinary department; stewed
"jabalin", or wild boar, or a ragout of the scaly armadillo,
the whole accompanied by draughts of an alleged coffee
made from the beans of the ebony-tree, and concluding
with a traguito, of the mescal introduced from the other
side of the river without going through the formality
of consulting with Internal Revenue or Customs officials.
Adventurous young men in search of a mild form of excitement
may find pleasure in such collations, but the hard-headed
conservative thinker will always prefer to sup with Lucullus.
This second quote seems to be another Yankee braving the Texas
Adventures on the Frontiers of Texas and Mexico. [The American
Whig review. / Volume 2, Issue 4, October 1845]
"But as dinner now made
its appearance, I had no leisure for further cogitation.
I had made the plunge, and sink or swim, live or die,
came back to me from school-boy days. Our frontier
meal of beef, sauced with appetite and the grease of
fried pork, and seasoned to scalding heat with red
pepper, with milk to neutralize its blistering effects
upon our throats, and thin Mexican cakes, called Tortillas,
was brought in by the Col.'s Mexican woman."
Here's one where the write seems to have
a better grasp of the cuisine in Texas:
Through Texas. [Harper's new monthly magazine. / Volume 59,
Issue 353, October 1879]
"Texas beef such as
we find in our Northern markets gives but a poor idea
of the succulent steaks eaten around the camp fire, with
the zest of a perfect appetite for sauce. It is a Texan
boast that better meat is thrown to the dogs among the
ranches than the people of the North can get in their
Here's a scan of an article where the writer
appears to have a very clear grasp of the importance of
using hot red peppers in cooking............
Point Of View. [Scribner's magazine. / Volume 17, Issue 6,
the oldest chili recipe we were able to find.........
Owen's Cook Book Chili (1880)
- lean beef -- cut in small dice
- 1 clove garlic -- chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoons espagnole
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- dried whole peppers
- cooked beans
This may be the earliest printed recipe for chili
con carne and it is surprisingly authentic, save for
the suspect addition of "espagnole", white sauce seasoned
with hame, carrot, onion, celery, and clove. The words
are Mrs. Owen's own.
|This might be called the national
dish of Mexico. Literally, it means 'pepper with meat'
and when prepared to suit the taste of the average Mexican,
is not misnamed. Take lean beef and cut in small dice,
put to cook with a little oil. When well braised, add some
onions, a clove of garlic chopped fine and one tablespoon
flour. Mix and cover with water or stock and two tablespoons
espagnole, 1 teaspoon each of ground oregano, camino, and
coriander. The latter can be purchased at any drug store.
Take dried whole peppers and remove the seeds, cover with
water and put to boil and when thoroughly cooked pass through
a fine strainer. Add sufficient puree to the stew to make
it good and hot, and salt to taste. To be served with a
border of Mexican beans (frijoles), well cooked in salted
Frijoles or Mexican brown beans. Boil beans in an
earthen vessel until soft (four to eight hours). Mash
and put them into a frying pan of very hot lard and
fry until comparatively dry and light brown. Sometimes
chopped onions are put into the lard before the beans
are added and sometimes pods of red pepper or grated
|A Chili Powder Recipe By : Garry Howard
- 2 ounces dried ancho chiles
- 4 ounces dried red New Mexican chiles
- 1 ounce dried chile de Arbol -- to add some
- 6 tablespoons cumin seeds -- toasted and ground
- 6 tablespoons granulated garlic -- preferably
one that hasn't sat on the grocer's shelf for 3 years
- 4 tablespoons ground Mexican oregano -- substitute
another kind only if you absolutely have to
- 4 tablespoons hot Hungarian paprika
chiles should be toasted before grinding. There are two
ways to go about this. The method I use is to toast the
chiles a few at a time on a hot cast iron griddle for about
1 minute, turning frequently until they soften and are
lightly toasted. Be careful not to let the chiles burn,
or they will have a bitter taste.
You can also
toast the chiles in an oven. Preheat the oven to 300
degrees F. Break off the stems and remove the seeds
from the chiles and lay them on a baking sheet arranged
in a single layer. Place the pan in the oven. Place
the cumin seeds in a small pan and place them in the
oven as well. Since the chile de arbol are small chiles,
they will be toasted first. Remove them and the cumin
seeds after 4 or 5 minutes. Toast the larger pods another
4 or 5 minutes. They should be well dried.
the chiles are cool, break them into pieces and grind into
a fine powder using a spice grinder or coffee mill. Add
the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Store in a jar.
Use this chili
powder for making chile or as an ingredient in spice
rubs for barbecuing. Add your own personalized touch
by experimenting with different types of chiles. You'll
never use that supermarket stuff again!
Sheet Music Published In
19th Century Texas
In 19th Century Texas, composer and music publishers were busy publishing all kinds of music, instrumental, choral, songs, you name it.
Music Published In
19th Century Texas
in the face of near certain death, Davy Crockett and John McGregor,
armed with their fiddle and bagpipes had one of history's wildest jam
sessions. Susanna Dickinson, wife of one
of the Alamo defenders and one of the few survivors from inside the
Alamo, described this incredible scene of jammin' at the Alamo. .
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