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So, you think you know how to make good chili
enidnews ^ | September 24, 2009 | David Christy

Posted on 10/03/2009 1:53:18 PM PDT by JoeProBono

You've read in my five previous columns history is all a matter of perspective. Well, today I'm going to challenge your perspective with the most serious topic you'll ever see in this space.

Chili.

That's right. With the season just changing from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, a steaming pot of chili looms on my horizon, and on many others.

There's nothing better on a cool day than a bowl of chili. It’s more American than apple pie and the hot dog. And, in that same context, I'm going to break one of the cardinal rules of journalism. You never talk about people’s politics or their religion. It just invites an argument and trouble.

Well, there is an unwritten cardinal rule ... you never disparage someone else’s chili recipe.

Until today, that is.

While America debates health care, the war in Afghanistan and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, it’s safe to say a person’s chili recipe should rank right up there among the world’s most pressing debates.

I’m not here to cast aspersions on anyone’s chili recipe — that blend of meat and spices and aroma that lures us into overindulgence during the cool months — but I’m afraid this area of our state is chili challenged.

I come to this conclusion, for want of any other proof other than my own observations, because people in this area of Oklahoma tend to make casseroles and call it chili.

If there was an 11th commandment, it would be: thou shalt not throw together a bunch of stray ingredients that sear the palate, meld it with barbecue sauce, hot sauce or beans and then call it chili.

For my expertise and pedigree, I offer the following.

My chili recipe actually comes from the Civil War — the four years this country couldn’t agree on just about anything and killed each other to prove it. So why should the topic of chili prove any different?

My great-great-grandfather was a Texas sorghum farmer, living just south of Greenville.

From family stories handed down generation to generation, he was an exceptional cook for his unit, the Confederacy’s 22nd Texas Cavalry, to the point he apparently concocted the Christy chili recipe for his company between battles.

Anyway, he handed down his chili recipe to his son, Jim Christy, who served four years in the Texas Rangers back in the 1890s, and who moved to southwest Oklahoma and opened Jim’s Lunch in Granite. And, of course, chili was the mainstay of pre- and post-Depression lunch counters the nation over.

No less an authority than renowned Daily Oklahoman & Times columnist Ray Parr wrote in his “Parr for the Course,” on Aug. 17, 1975, about my great-grandpa’s chili:

“For deluxe dining, Jim Christy served chili for 10 cents per bowl — and it was a man-sized bowl, with plenty of crackers. Old-timers around Oklahoma City still talk about Baxter’s (restaurant) chili. But that’s because they never had a sniff of the real stuff, Jim Christy style. When old Jim got his chili simmering on the stove you could smell it the entire length of Granite’s booming business district. I was 12 years old before I knew restaurants ever served anything but hamburgers and chili. During my expense account years, I have tried out gourmet eating from New Orleans to San Francisco. But none of it has ever approached that Jim Christy chili.”

That recipe was handed down to one of his two sons, my great-uncle Barney, who operated Christy’s Lunch on Weatherford’s Main Street for many years. I’m sure anyone who went to college at Southwestern would attest to his legacy of fine chili.

And, about a year before he died in 1987, we made a trip to Weatherford for our last visit with him. As was his habit, it was one big genealogy lesson and bull session. Plus, he handed down the family chili recipe to me.

It came written on brown kraft paper, penciled on an old, worn paper bag. But, it was like the Shroud of Turin to me — entrusted with the family recipe for “Texas Red.”

And, I was sworn to its secrecy, on penalty of my everlasting soul, with the caveat I never make my chili too spicy, use exotic meats or other assorted road kill, put beans in it or divulge the ingredients.

Colleagues here at the paper have asked for the recipe, but it’s still safely tucked away. Not even my wife knows its secrets. And, someday, I’ll have to decide which of my three sons to pass it along to — for posterity.

So the next time someone tells me they make a good bowl of chili, I’ll just have to shake my head and chuckle.

That’s right, I’ve thrown down the gauntlet, drawn a line in the dirt, questioned your heritage and your veracity ... and your chili.


TOPICS: Food
KEYWORDS: chili; foodfight; recipes
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1 posted on 10/03/2009 1:53:18 PM PDT by JoeProBono
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To: JoeProBono

2 posted on 10/03/2009 1:54:41 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

One thing that makes a difference is beans from scratch...


3 posted on 10/03/2009 1:55:17 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau

I’ve tried everything but I still can’t form them beans by hand!


4 posted on 10/03/2009 1:57:23 PM PDT by Randy Larsen ( BTW, If I offend you! Please let me know, I may want to offend you again!)
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To: All

5 posted on 10/03/2009 1:58:43 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

6 posted on 10/03/2009 1:59:15 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: JoeProBono
Now this is a good post...


7 posted on 10/03/2009 1:59:51 PM PDT by darkwing104 (Lets get dangerous)
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To: Sacajaweau

Does chili have beans ?


8 posted on 10/03/2009 2:00:18 PM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (Waste and fraud are synonymous with gov't spending)
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To: Sacajaweau

9 posted on 10/03/2009 2:01:43 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin
Does chili have beans ?

You really know how to start a fight!
10 posted on 10/03/2009 2:02:19 PM PDT by HangnJudge
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

11 posted on 10/03/2009 2:03:31 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

Just made a HUGE kettle of the stuff. It freezes well. Did six containers.


12 posted on 10/03/2009 2:05:13 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: HangnJudge

LOL Twas intentional. Finally we’ll have the answer.


13 posted on 10/03/2009 2:05:14 PM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin (Waste and fraud are synonymous with gov't spending)
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To: JoeProBono

Dear David Christy:

You are from Oklahoma. Your opinions about chili are therefore meaningless.

Sincerely,

B-Chan


14 posted on 10/03/2009 2:05:22 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: JoeProBono

Beans in chili = NOT CHILI


15 posted on 10/03/2009 2:05:54 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: JoeProBono
Chili for the "Tootless" crowd.

That is just damn clever!!

16 posted on 10/03/2009 2:07:03 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: B-Chan

OK, what about the ‘shredded beef only’ rule? Is it chili if it uses ground beef?


18 posted on 10/03/2009 2:09:37 PM PDT by kaylar
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

Chili has beans — jalapeno beans. And mix a heaping spoonful of corn muffin mix with a little water to form a smooth pourable paste. Add that to the bubbling chili and stir. It’ll thicken, flavor, and mellow your chili. You won’t want chili any other way.


19 posted on 10/03/2009 2:10:31 PM PDT by Snapping Turtle
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin
Does chili have beans ?


Zuzu says "NO!"

20 posted on 10/03/2009 2:17:17 PM PDT by smokingfrog (No man's life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session. I AM JIM THOMPSON)
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To: kaylar
The stuff with beans, hamburger meat, tomatoes, etc. in it is NOT chili. It is “chili soup”.

Chili is not a soup. Neither is it a garnish, a topping, or a sauce. It is a BEEF dish, made from chunks of BEEF, to which powdered chilies, masa, and various spices are added.

Chili is Texas food. It is our national dish. People from other states ALWAYS get it wrong. No one in Oklahoma knows crap about chili. That goes double for Califreakingfornia. And as for those liquid diaper contents they pass off as “chili” in Cincinnati — may God forgive them.

PROTIP: Chili is like sourdough bread or Philly cheesesteaks or New York pizza: impossible to duplicate elsewhere. There's some magic ingredient here — bacteria, radiation, pollution, whatever — that makes real chili unique and unreproducible. Do not eat “chili” made north of the Red River. Whatever you may be served up there, it will not be chili.

21 posted on 10/03/2009 2:18:49 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Snapping Turtle
Chili has beans — jalapeno beans.

Sure it does... IN COMMUNIST RUSSIA.

22 posted on 10/03/2009 2:21:10 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: darkwing104

23 posted on 10/03/2009 2:22:10 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

Ugh! The infamous “Cleveland Steamer”!


24 posted on 10/03/2009 2:22:58 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: B-Chan

25 posted on 10/03/2009 2:24:49 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Fixings (you get it at the grocery store). I let it simmer for a lot longer than it says to so the flavors really blend. Have used it for years and love the stuff.

Serve over fried rice and top with shredded cheese and crumbled taco shells. YUMMY!!


26 posted on 10/03/2009 2:26:13 PM PDT by proudofthesouth (Zero is fast becoming America's Hitler.)
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To: Sacajaweau

27 posted on 10/03/2009 2:26:23 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

I have been making good chili from scratch for 35 years. Mine has no beans.


28 posted on 10/03/2009 2:27:12 PM PDT by BunnySlippers (I LOVE BULL MARKETS . . .)
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To: proudofthesouth

29 posted on 10/03/2009 2:27:47 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: proudofthesouth

Chili is not to be served “over” anything. That is what a SAUCE is for. Real chili stands on its own.


30 posted on 10/03/2009 2:28:23 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: JoeProBono
or divulge the ingredients

The true romance of chili is in the sharing. Yes, I feel I know how to make exceptionally fine chili as do several tens of thousands of other chili enthusiasts.

The beauty of chili is that there are several “best” chilis. A chili rated best at any given chili cook-off may not be rated best at the next chili cook off.

I like to make many different kinds of chili because each has its own time and place. For example on Christmas Eve all my grandchildren look forward to a chili I make that is actually an Italian gravy meant to be served over spaghetti. I omit the spaghetti but sometimes serve it over macaroni. When I was young, the truck stops in the Midwest served "Chili Mac". It was a regularly spiced chili served over macaroni and was fun. The closest description for mine would be "Cincinnati Chili" because of some of the unusual spices I use.

I sometimes like a hearty Texas Chili with pinto beans and served with corn bread. At times, I use ground beef and at other times, I use beef cubes. I make my own chile powder and often that is the only spicy ingredient but at other times, I add jalapeno, or cayenne, or on occasion dried habernos peppers.

Glad you brought it up, now I'm hungry for chili.

31 posted on 10/03/2009 2:30:53 PM PDT by MosesKnows (Love many, Trust few, and always paddle your own canoe)
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To: JoeProBono
Lordy, God! That looks like a circumcision gone awry! :)
32 posted on 10/03/2009 2:31:04 PM PDT by PLMerite (Speak Truth to Stupid.)
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To: JoeProBono

Pretty boastful and arrogant to claim you have the best chili without showing the recipe.


33 posted on 10/03/2009 2:32:10 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: JoeProBono

Pretty boastful and arrogant to claim you have the best chili without showing the recipe.


34 posted on 10/03/2009 2:33:12 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: JoeProBono
I was sworn to its secrecy, on penalty of my everlasting soul, with the caveat I never ... put beans in it

Ain't chili then.

35 posted on 10/03/2009 2:36:23 PM PDT by ctdonath2 (Mr. Obama, I will not join your plantation.)
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To: B-Chan

I REALLY hope you’re not sitting in a silo in the midwest.


36 posted on 10/03/2009 2:36:28 PM PDT by CaptRon
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To: JoeProBono

"...and chili doesn't have beans."


37 posted on 10/03/2009 2:40:58 PM PDT by red-dawg (If you don't like the constitution, move to a country with one you like. LEAVE OURS ALONE.)
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To: JoeProBono

That looks like something you’d get at a junior high school JV football game concession stand.


38 posted on 10/03/2009 2:41:10 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: MosesKnows

Chili may be served with pinto beans and corn bread ON THE SIDE. If the “chili” contains beans, onions, tomatoes, rutabagas, kumquats, or any fruit or vegetable other than chiles, it is not chili.

None of the other foods you mention are chili.


39 posted on 10/03/2009 2:44:54 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: CaptRon

No, I man the Orbiting Death Laser®...


40 posted on 10/03/2009 2:45:37 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Snapping Turtle

What a great idea! Thanks!


41 posted on 10/03/2009 2:47:16 PM PDT by divine_moment_of_facts (“Cap and Trade bill tells us how to live.. Health Care bill tells us how to die.” Bauer and Rose)
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To: B-Chan

I lived in Texas for a year and had to listen to people spew that nonsense about ‘no beans in chili’. Whatever. It tastes better with beans in it and my chili does not resemble soup at all. It’s extremely thick and incredibly flavorful. I like to add a tablespoon or so of cocoa and a dash of nutmeg to mine sometimes. Gives it a different flavor. Every once in awhile we’ll put a little red wine or beer in it but I think that is too over powering. I do like to use dried beans that I’ve prepared myself but usually just buy the canned stuff. I’m afraid with a house full of little kids it just makes it easier. I haven’t had a chance to prepare beans and freeze them in awhile. It is that time of year though! Will have a pot of chili brewing here tomorrow.


42 posted on 10/03/2009 2:48:27 PM PDT by samiam1972 ("It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."-Mother Teresa)
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To: JoeProBono; Libertina
As witnessed by the Puget Sound FReepers at a summer party a few years back... MY chili has fresh habeneros, jalopenas, and a few other chili peppers... but the kicker is adding fresh cilantro, LOBSTER, SCALLOPS, AND SHRIMP as well as the shredded beef! Too many secret ingredients to mention here!
43 posted on 10/03/2009 2:50:07 PM PDT by JDoutrider
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To: ctdonath2
With all due respect: you're from Georgia. Chili is the national dish of Texas. As such, we alone have the right to define authentic chili. And by our definition, chili contains no beans.

Of course, you can make your own "chili" whatever way you wish, and you can even call it "chili", but calling something with beans in it "chili" doesn't make it chili. You can call a turkey vulture a bald eagle all day long, but in reality a turkey vulture is still a turkey vulture.

Chili with beans is "chili" in the same way that gay marriage is "marriage".

44 posted on 10/03/2009 2:50:58 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: JoeProBono
A Free Republic classic on chili.

Cheers!

45 posted on 10/03/2009 2:51:00 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: JoeProBono

Somewhere in Massachusetts there’s a nice, liberal lady with a recipe for healthy tofu-and-kidney-bean chili.


46 posted on 10/03/2009 2:52:20 PM PDT by Grut
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To: JDoutrider
LOBSTER, SCALLOPS, AND SHRIMP...Too many secret ingredients to mention here!

Secret...mention? You screamed them at the top of your lungs!

47 posted on 10/03/2009 2:52:45 PM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (RATs, nothing more than bald haired hippies.)
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To: B-Chan

Share your recipe with us. I thought there was only one type of chili and thats the chili that wins this.

http://www.chilicookoff.com/Recipe/Recipe_Detail.asp?RecipeID=12

The fella is the worlds only undefeated Chili Champ.
Never been beat.


48 posted on 10/03/2009 2:53:32 PM PDT by winodog (Dont be mad at boomers for inventing the WWW and stealing your real life from you.)
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To: JDoutrider

cincinnati chili


49 posted on 10/03/2009 2:53:37 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: All

Is there any pre-made chili available off the shelf that is good?


50 posted on 10/03/2009 2:56:39 PM PDT by jla
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