For the Love (or Hate) of Chili

No other dish provokes such depth of feeling.
For the Love (or Hate) of Chili
Photograph by Jody Horton

“Chile con carne: a detestable food which, falsely called Mexican, is sold in the United States from Texas to New York.”
—Francisco J. Santamaria, Diccionario de Mejicanismos, 1959

“Chili eaters is some of your chosen people. We don’t know why you so doggone good to us. But, Lord, don’t ever think we ain’t grateful for this chili we about to eat.”
—A prayer by Amarillo cowhand Bones Hooks (1867–1951)

“The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover’s kiss.”
—Joe Cooper, With or Without Beans, 1952

“The bowl of blessedness!”
—actor and cattleman Will Rogers (1879–1935)

“It can truly be Texas red only if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: Daring the mouth to eat it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.”
—John Thorne, Serious Pig,  1996

“Chili concocted outside of Texas is usually a weak, apologetic imitation of the real thing. One of the first things I do when I get home to Texas is to have a bowl of red. There is simply nothing better.”
—President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908–1973)

“Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe.”
—bandleader and trumpeter Harry James (1916–1983)

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