Left on your own, would you say the history of chili has its beginnings in Mexico?Â With all the red peppers and chili powder- I might have thought so myself.Â According to Texas writer Charles Ramsdell this is not the case.
“Chili, as we know it in the U.S., cannot be found in Mexico today except in a few spots which cater to tourists.Â If chili had come from Mexico, it would still be there.Â For Mexicans, especially those of Indian ancestry, do not change their customs from one generation, or even from one century, to another.”
There are many speculations and even legends regarding the origin of chili.Â Who knew that this topic inspired so much historical attention?Â Some attribute chili as being a poor man’s food.Â When one could not afford a large piece of meat, you would just add what you could and put the rest of the kitchen inside- less meat, more peppers.
One of my favorite of the chili legends is from 17th century lore involving a beautiful nun.Â An old Southwestern American Indian tale has it that the first recipe for chili was put on paper by a lovely nun, Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain, to be exact.Â She was know to the Indians as “La Dama de Azul”, or the lady in blue.Â She included in her recipe for chili venison or antelope meat, onions, tomatoes & chili peppers.Â There are no recorded accounts of this however, pure good old fashioned legend.Â I like it though- a beautiful nun with a taste for chili.
Others go on to claim the origin of chili- Texan adventurers, Spanish priests & residents of a Texan prison in the 1800’s.Â Apparently everyone wants to take credit for this delicious part of American culinary culture.Â From where I stand, the facts point to a beautiful Spanish nun who liked Texan adventures and took her work to prisons.Â You like it?
Chili is different to everyone, so I think it would be a difficult task to pin down this raging bull of a dish.Â You may order New York chili and have peas inside, a Southern chili will always come with a side of corn bread & Texas chili is sure to take your palate on a wild, hot ride.Â But no matter where your chili is from, it warms the heart & lifts the soul.
Rest assured, The Ultimate Chili Recipe is on its way.