|No food is more steeped in Texas' mythical
history than chili. One legend has it that chili was
first prepared by the cooks on the cattle drives,
using the wild chilies found along the trail. The
chilies added flavor to the monotonous chuck wagon
fare of stewed meat served with beans and biscuits.
Another legend says that chili was first served
by the Chili Queens at their all night food stands
in the plazas of San Antonio.
One thing is known for sure and that is that chili
originated in Texas. In fact, the Texas Legislature
voted Chili as the official state dish in 1977 and
Texans fondly call this fiery stew, "a bowl
| In the early 1880's. W.R.Tobin, hotel
proprietor and sheriff of San Antonio, sold canned
chili to the U.S. Army. Then in 1884, he entered into
a venture with the Range Canning Company at
Fort McKavett, Texas to make chili from goat meat.
Tobin died just as the first cans of the goat chili
were being produced and this venture failed.
Another chili canning operation started
in the 1920's in the back of a meat market in Corsicana,
Texas. The company founder, Lyman T. Davis named
the product for his pet wolf, Kaiser Bill. Wolf
Brand Chili is still made today, and this is the
canned chili preferred by Texans if they don't have
time to make their own.
In the 1960's chili making assumed
national status with the first Chili Cook-Off at
Terlingua, Texas and the formation of the chili
cook-off associations. Now a chili cook-off is held
almost every week-end somewhere in the United States.
The recipes run the gambit from classic chili ingredients
of meat, chilies, garlic and cumin to ones that
call for exotic additions as smoked salmon and truffles.
|Remember, chili making is a state of mind. Here
is the perfect recipe from Cheryl and Bill Jamison's
book, Texas Home Cooking.
Your Own Chuck'em Chili
Serves you and your friends
In your favorite pot, chuck in some
meat, spices, liquid and maybe more. Cook the
mixture long and slow. Taste frequently, adding
ingredients as needed. Eat enough to satisfy your
appetite and age the rest overnight in the refrigerator.
Then get some long necks, soda crackers
and finish off the chili with your friends while
you listen to some good old Texas Swing from Asleep
at the Wheel.