CHILI: BEANS OR NO BEANS, THAT IS THE QUESTION

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There’s a saying in Texas – “if you know beans about chili, it’s that there’s no beans in chili.” There’s a common thought that chili with beans is a Yankee thing. Texas chili does not have beans.

Except, when it does. Texas chili is chili con carne – peppers with meat. But, just as popular is chili con carne y frijoles – peppers with meat and beans. You will find both to be common – with one binding rule – the purpose of a chili tasting is to judge the meat and gravy, so beans are forbidden in competitive chili.

If you ask most Texans if they want chili with beans or without they will say that if it’s got beans… it’s not chili! (and I agree)

But not so fast!

While any chili with beans is automatically disqualified from an official chili competition, there is a movement growing in support of the magical fruit.

John Raven of texascooking.com has this to say:

“It is just fine with me if you want to put beans in your chili, as long as they are not white beans. White beans do not belong in chili. That was written on the back of one of the stone slabs Moses brought down off the mountain.”

On the other hand, the venerable Texas journalist Wick Fowler said:

“If you know beans about chili, you know that chili has no beans.”

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Carroll Shelby  of the International Chili Society is more sanguine in his approach:

“The beauty of chili to me is that it’s really a state of mind,” he says. “It’s what you want when you make it. You can put anything in there you want, make it hot or mild, any blend of spices you feel like at the time. You make it up to suit your mood.”

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