DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS (CHILI)
By Nancy Whitaker
Exactly what is “chili?” The answer to that question is, “It depends on where you live.” I have made and eaten what I call “chili” all my life and recently found out that “Texas Chili” is very different from what they call “Yankee Chili.”
A former Paulding County resident, Mona Larson Gloor Jimerson, who has resided in Texas for the past 30 years, is home visiting her parents, John and Ola Larson of Antwerp.
Mona is a wonderful cook who has taken her passion for food and runs her own catering business called Simply Southern.
When Mona is home here in Ohio, she loves to cook for her parents. On Thursday night, Mona, from her parents’ house, posted the following on her Facebook page, “Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I just put ‘beans’ in chili! Please forgive me.”
When I read that, I wondered, “So what. I always put beans in chili.” However, Mona has many friends in Texas who read her posts as well as us Midwesterners who also read them.
Of course, I am a “Yankee” so I immediately commented, “I always put beans in chili. What else would you put in it?”
This got a discussion going that by the time the Ohioans and the Texans got through debating how to make chili, there were 129 posts from various chili makers.
Of course, all of us “Yankees” put beans in our chili, plus we use hamburger and tomatoes. Some of us even put macaroni in it.
To the Texans, this was just sacrilegious. Comments from fellow Texans were flowing back and forth.
Retired Judge Alvin Khoury spoke of Mona’s repentance saying, “Nope Mona. That is one sin (putting beans in chili) that cannot be forgiven.”
Attorney and radio announcer Bob Cole got in on the conversation with this comment, “Oh no! Yankee chili. You don’t put beans in Texas chili. Meat, meat, meat. Venison is the best! Beans in chili would be like putting lemons in spaghetti sauce. It just isn’t done.”
My questions included, “If chili has no beans, do you eat it on a bun? Isn’t it like sloppy Joe? How can anyone just cook meat and spices and call it chili?”
Ryan Stanford, a big city official from Texas, added this to the mix, telling poor Mona, “You may be deported to Oklahoma for putting beans in chili.”
Stanford then asked, “Did you explain to everyone that when you put in beans, it no longer is chili? We have an obligation to bring civilization to the heathens! (Bless their hearts.)”
Kelly Pope Woods shared her knowledge of chili by adding, “Texas chili is eaten like soup, in a bowl, but it’s thick and rich and topped with Fritos, cheese, onion, and if you’re from the city, mustard.”
It seems as if Texans don’t eat Wendy’s chili, either. Ryan Stanford replied, “No, Nancy, because they put beans in it and erroneously call it chili.”
Bill O’Mara, then said, “I was on a chili cookoff team in college. The rules are to just take meat, onions and garlic and slow cook for a long time. Jalapeno or garlic can be added later.”
Bob Cole said that he sometimes uses shredded meat instead of ground meat and that venison or elk venison is the absolute best to use.
How do you make chili? Have you ever eaten the Texas style chili? Let me know and I’ll give you a Penny For Your Thoughts.