15 January 2019

Deliberate Misinformation

Chili isn't from Mexico, though I often attribute it to Mexico on purpose.

It's from a part of Texas that's predominately Mexican rather than Anglo.

It's original form didn't have beans.  Beans just don't grow there.

But if you're going to get all "traditional" and demand that chili not have beans because they didn't use beans in the 1850's...  Your base stock had better include suet.  And dried beef.

Chili was poor folk food.  It's got simple ingredients that aren't prime, marketable cuts.

Lots of staple foods start here.

Starting with fresh meat, skipping suet, adding tomatoes and beans... allowed.

My grandmother would object to all manner of things which are called spaghetti in restaurants today.  She refused to call MY spaghetti sauce "spaghetti".  Why?  Meat.  To her, spaghetti sauce was meatless (also distinct from the similarly meatless marinara).  But she did say it was very tasty and allowed that I could call it anything I wanted.

There's a story there too.

HER sauce wasn't spaghetti sauce to her neighbors back in the old country.  Why?  Because her sauce was associated with a different noodle than spaghetti with them.  They both made the same sauce, but used different pasta and thus used a different name.

The thing is, both my Grandma and Texas have lost this naming war.

When you ask someone to describe chili, you're going to get a bean and meat dish not a base sauce with some meat in it.  The fact that you have to say "Texas chili" to describe a base chili sauce without beans or tomatoes says everything about how Texas has lost this war.  Don't feel bad, Texas, Italy lost the war over what pizza is too.

Texas takes far too many things to religious fervor levels that really don't matter.

1 comment:

  1. There are many 'national' dishes that are variations of 'Garbage Stew.'

    Bouilliabaisse - also known as fish soup made from what didn't sell today or yesterday.
    Gumbo - leftover soup with or without rice.
    Fried Rice - yes, not a soup but leftovers and 'not much in the pantry today.
    Paella - Rice with leftovers or what didn't sell.
    Chowder - Yep, nobody wants leftover milk and potatoes, got some clams, gotta do something with them...
    Chili
    Fish Head soup
    etc...


    Many great dishes have humble beginnings.

    And real original Chili-chili wasn't supposed to burn your insides out for FUN! Yeesh, some people's kids...

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