Chili con carne literally "Chili with meat", often known simply as chili is a spicy stew. The name "chili con carne" is taken from Spanish, and means "peppers with meat”.Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included. Variations, both geographic and personal, may involve different types of meat as well as a variety of other ingredients. It can be found worldwide in local variations and also in certain American-style fast food restaurants. The variant recipes provoke disputes among enthusiasts, and the dish is used as an ingredient in a number of other foods.
A Native American legend from Texas, Arizona and New Mexico claims that Chili was a dish taught to them by Venerable Sister Maria Agreda. Described as a beautiful young foreign lady dressed in blue "The Lady in Blue" or "Lama De Azul", in the early 1600s. This mysterious lady was a Spanish Nun who taught the Indians how to prepare a dish made with venison, spices and assorted peppers. Support for this legend can be found in the earliest known record of Sister Agreda missionary exploits in the New World as recounted in 1670 by Bishop Jose Jiminez of
Spain. In 1888, Fr. Michael Muller’s book Catholic Dogma also recounts Sister Agreda's interactions with Native Americans in Southwestern United States.
Chili peppers originated in the Americas and were in wide use in pre-Columbian Mexican culture.Masa — a meal made from either corn flour or corn that has been treated with caustic lime to make hominy is often used as a thickener and flavoring.The Americanized recipe used for expeditions consisted of dried beef, suet, dried chili peppers, and salt, which were pounded together and left to dry into bricks, which could then be boiled in pots on the trail.
The "San Antonio Chili Stand", in operation at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, helped people from other parts of the country taste and appreciate chili. San Antonio was a significant tourist destination and helped Texas-style chili con carne spread throughout the South and West. Chili con carne is the official dish of the U.S. State of Texas as designated by the House Concurrent Resolution Number 18 of the 65th Texas Legislature during its regular session in 1977.
During the 1880s, brightly dressed Hispanic women known as "chili queens" began to operate around Military Plaza and other public gathering places in downtown San Antonio. They appeared at dusk, when they built charcoal or wood fires to reheat cauldrons of pre-cooked chili. They sold it by the bowl to passersby. The aroma was a potent sales pitch; mariachi street musicians joined in to serenade the eaters. Some chili queens later built semi-permanent stalls in the mercado a local Mexican market.In September 1937, the San Antonio Health Department implemented new sanitary regulations that required the chili queens to adhere to the same standards as indoor restaurants.
Unable to provide lavatory facilities, the queens and their "street chili" culture disappeared overnight. Although Mayor Maury Maverick reinstated the queens' privileges in 1939, the city reapplied the more stringent regulations permanently in 1943.
San Antonio's mercado was renovated in the 1970s, at which time it was the largest Mexican marketplace in the U.S. Local merchants began staging historic re-enactments of the chili queens' heyday. The "Return of the Chili Queens Festival" is now part of that city's annual Memorial Day festivities.
Before World War II, hundreds of small, family-run chili parlors also known as "chili joints", could be found throughout Texas and other states, particularly those in which émigré Texans had made new homes. Each establishment usually had a claim to some kind of "secret recipe.
As early as 1904, Chili parlors were opening outside of Texas. After working at the Louisiana Purchase...