Chili has been a staple meal for the winter season for as long as we can remember. Cold winter nights are often made cozy with Chili and cornbread next to the fire and of course, a captivating football game. In honor of the Big Game, we’re taking you back to the beginning.
Also, known as Chili Con Carne, Chili is served best with a side of controversy. Its history has been long debated in parallel to debates about the ultimate recipe. If you asked New York author H. Allen Smith the core ingredients of chili, he’d tell you “fiery envy, scalding jealousy, scorching contempt and sizzling scorn.”
At Atlanta Bread, our recipe veers off this path a bit.
There are just about as many stories about how Chili came to be as there are recipes for it.
Some enthusiasts will tell you the beautiful story of Sister Mary of Agreda, a Spanish nun in the early 1600s who never left her convent had out-of-body experiences in which her spirit was transported across the Atlantic to preach Christianity to the Indians. Legend holds that after one of the return trips, her spirit wrote down the first recipe for chili con carne: chili peppers, venison (deer meat), onions and tomatoes. Whatever tale you land on, it’s no secret that the American fame of chili con carne began to spread and the dish soon became a major staple of American culture.
Checkout the original recipe for Chili Con Carne, according to Betty Crocker.
A Steadfast Tradition
The Chili Cook Off has become a time-honored tradition in American culture. In 1967 the International Chili Society held its first World Championship Chili Cook Off in Terlingua, Texas and have continued the fun-spirited competition every year ever since. 3
Dive into the flavors of the 2016 Winning Recipe.
No Beans About it
Beyond the origin stories, there is also a heated debate regarding whether true chili recipes feature beans. In Texas, meat-and-chile-only chili (also known as a bowl of red) is a way of life. According to locals, to violate it should be punishable by law. Cincinnatians like to include beans in their recipe along with cheese, spaghetti, raw onions and…the kitchen sink.
There has been such a debate that in 2016, the International Chili Society’s World Chili Cook-Off included an additional division for — you guessed it — chili with beans.
Pass the Chili
Sans beans or not, every family has a chili recipe that stands the test of time, floating from generation to generation with a loving tale to go with it.
The Big Game
Over the years, chili and the Big Game have become an inseparable pair and no party spread is complete without it. Here are our 10 reasons why Chili is a must this Sunday:
- A Hardy Meal – Packed full of flavor and various ingredients, chili is always a hardy meal – beans or no beans. With various renditions including ground beef, pork and even rice, your chili can feed the masses.
- It’s Easy to Make, Perfect for Crockpot Cooking – if your chili isn’t coming together in a crockpot over several hours, is it really chili?
- Warms the Soul – Not all warm ups require stretching. You’re not a true football fan if you’re not tailgating at every game – no matter the weather. Chili is a hardy meal that can bring warmth to a chilly day (pun intended).
- Good for Dipping – Any game day side will do – chips, crackers, cornbread, you name it!
- Game Day Part 2 – Slap on your gear and get ready for a good one! Game Day celebrations are bound to end up in a head-to head-chili cook off. Pick your teams, ladies and gentleman – and we don’t mean #PatsNation or those #DirtyBirds.
- Goes Well with Beer And Cheese – Both a necessity while watching football – or for life really.
- They Belong Together – Pigskin and chili, both similar in color, both a Sunday favorite.
- Leftovers Make a Comeback – Cheese, crackers, beans, rice, lasagna, spaghetti, etc. You can put the kitchen sink in chili and it’s still guaranteed to be a hit – ask those Cincinnatians.
- They Both Feature All-Star Kickers – This isn’t fantasy football, but for a strong chili bowl, we encourage you to draft your best “kicker” to spice things up and bring a little heat to the game.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers – As in the band who enjoys football championships and chili. It’s only right that the two are eternally paired. Who could forget that 2014 performance?