Every part of the country, it seems, claims to have “the best chili.” I’m not going to take sides in the dispute, because it is, after all, a matter of personal taste. One thing that is rarely disputed, however, is the fact that chili originated in Texas in the 1800’s.
A lot of popular chili around the country is loaded up with beans, tomatoes, onions, and all kinds of other good things. In the Cincinnati area, it is served over noodles and covered with a mound of shredded cheese. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad chili, except maybe something that comes out of a can.
What I like about Texas chili, is the simplicity of it. The earliest Texas chili was composed of beef, cayenne or some kind of pepper, a few other spices including salt, and perhaps some masa flour. The Texas chili of today probably adds a few more items, but it is still fairly simple. Beef, spices, and water are the main ingredients. In no case does true Texas chili, then or now, have beans. This early chili recipe evolved from convenience for those preparing it and from what foods were available at the time. It is as simple as that.
Add a slice of warm cornbread with a little butter, and you’ve got something really special to enjoy. Add an orange twist garnish, and you have one fancy lunch!