THE UNITED STATES OF CHILI

By Dana C, Regional Director of Corporate Sales – Harbor Magic Hotels

A warm bowl of chili on a cold day, is one of my favorite comfort foods.  The United States has certainly taken ownership of this delicious dish.  You can usually find a chili cook-off on any given fall or winter weekend.

Chili or Chili con Carne can spark a debate as passionate as ….. well, one might say a political debate.  You see, I grew up in Baltimore.  We called it chili, and it contained the usual meat, beans, onions, garlic, cumin, tomatoes, and peppers.  My dad would eat his chili served over white rice.  As my tasted matured and I started to travel, I noticed not all things (food especially) did not mean the same geographically.

Some say chili is the basic dish served without beans or tomatoes.   Chili cooks have raised passionate discussions of whether beans belong in chili or not.  Purists would argue that the hearty dish would never include beans.

Chili parlors, often family run, could be found in Texas before World War II.  During the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, chili parlor chains could be found throughout the Midwest.

Cincinnati chili can be traced back to 1922, when a chili parlor called Empress Chili opened.  This bowl of chili has also evolved, but will always be served over spaghetti with oyster crackers.

Today there are so many chili recipes, and the ingredients are definitely different depending in what part of the United States of America you live.

I think this one though, is pretty universal, Frito Pie.  This I would say… could not cause a political debate…

Here is how it’s done:

  1. Start with a 2 ounce bag of Fritos corn chips. Carefully cut the side of the bag from top to bottom
  2. Top the Fritos corn chips with your favorite chili or chili con carne.
  3. Top with chopped raw onions, freshly grated cheddar cheese (or your favorite cheese), jalapeno, salsa (optional), and sour cream
  4. Dig In!
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