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How Chili Has Become What It Is Today

Hot and fresh bowl of chili with cheese and scallions on a serving bowl and plate at a restaurant in Springfield IL

When the cold season approaches, there are certain foods that we look forward to enjoying that helps provide us with the comfort we want. While all of us can find warmth and comfort in a nice cup of hot cocoa, if we are really lucky, there may be a pot on the stove bubbling, with the aroma of spices, peppers, and meat cooking – Chili, or chili con carne. Depending on you make it, it could be in the form of a soup or stew, but either way, it is the ultimate comfort food during the winter.

A Variety of Ways to Cook Chili Con Carne

The beauty of chili is that it can be served in many different ways, you especially know this if you’ve ever attended a chili cook-off. From mild to hot, soup consistency or a little thicker, the range of spices, meats, and even the addition of noodles or beans. So, just because you don’t like one bowl of chili doesn’t mean you don’t like any chili – because there are thousands of different types.

Fresh bowl of chili with beans and cilantro in a black bowl with a wooden spoon in Springfield ILHow Did Chili Come Into Existence?

If you believe in legends, mankind has been combining peppers and meat into a stew for thousands of years. There are various myths about the exact origin of chili, one popular tale states that a Spanish nun who appeared supernaturally to Native Americans in the 1600s delivered them the recipe of chili: peppers, deer meat, onions, and tomatoes.

Modern Day Chili Con Carne

Chili, also known as chili con carne (chili with meat), appears to have originated in the American West, more specifically Texas. As the story goes, immigrants coming from the Canary Islands brought their recipe for chili with them when they settled in the 1700s in San Antonio. While historians argue about the exact origins, they all agree that chili was a favorite amongst pioneers and cowboys on the Western front.

The Official Dish in TexasWoman in a black and white tank top eating chili with a homemade mexican chip at a restaurant in Springfield IL

Chili became a popular dish in San Antonio, with some women being referred to as “chili queens” which led to the spread of chili con carne across the country. In 1893, the famous San Antonio dish was served at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Since then, chili has become a staple in American cuisine, even more so in Texas, with the legislature naming Chili the official state dish in 1977.

Don’t just take our word for it, see for yourself the greatness and beauty of a bowl of chili by attending your next local chili contest, we promise you won’t regret it.

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