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Chili Con Carne History Lesson, No Beans Abou

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Category: Chili

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  • "I Hear America Cooking"
  • Shared by Dorothy Hair 6/94



> Information <

Chili con carne, disclaimed by Mexicans as "a detestable food with a false
Mexican title" is nevertheless, a true Mex-American child of the border.
It originated in towns like San Antonio, where poor Mexican families made a
little meat go a long way with lots of chili. J. C. Cooper, first described
the dish in 1828 as a "kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there
are pieces of meat." In 1880s, however, the dish became fashionable when
sporting ladies known as "chili queens" dished out chili from open-air
stalls around Alamo Plaza at night for San Antonio on the prowl for a hot
dish. The Texas fashion went national when Texas set up a state chili booth
at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago and when a German, named
William Gebhardt who had operated a cafe in New Braunfels, Texas, exploited
the new taste in 1908 by canning the stuff.

Ever since then, prize-winning recipes at the annual Chili Cookoffs in
rival Tropico, California, and Terlingua, Texas, rely heavily on canned
tomatoes and premixed commercial chili powder. New Mexicans, on the other
hand, insist of freshly made chili pulp or at least pure ground chili.

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