It’s National Chili Day!
And today is a perfect day here in the upper Willamette Valley to celebrate this spicy dish. It’s cold and snowy and this warming dish fits the weather.
But where did chili come from? Chili history has some colorful ideas, like the one of the Spanish nun in the 1600s that left her body to cross the Atlantic and preach Christianity to the North American Natives. She claims to have brought the first recipe back with her on one of these trips. But a more likely history goes back to 1828 when writer J.C. Klopp wrote about his visit to San Antonio. He noted that the people were poor and had to stretch their meats. They did so by chopping it “into hash” and mixing it with “as many peppers as there were pieces of meat”.
The 1880s brought the first stand that sold “bowls o’red”. The roaring twenties and the great depression brought more popularity to the dish. President Johnson loved the dish, but insisted only the true Texan concoction could be called chili.
And now, in the 21st century, we have so many different kinds of this hot meat stew that no matter what your taste preferences are, there is a chili to celebrate!
Oh, and the first chili cook off took place in Terlinda, Texas in 1967 – so here are some ideas for you to plan your own cook-off! I started the list and hope you will add your own recipes as well!