The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


September 24, 2009

So, you think you know how to make good chili

You've read in my five previous columns history is all a matter of perspective. Well, today I'm going to challenge your perspective with the most serious topic you'll ever see in this space.


That's right. With the season just changing from the vernal to the autumnal equinox, a steaming pot of chili looms on my horizon, and on many others.

There's nothing better on a cool day than a bowl of chili. It’s more American than apple pie and the hot dog. And, in that same context, I'm going to break one of the cardinal rules of journalism. You never talk about people’s politics or their religion. It just invites an argument and trouble.

Well, there is an unwritten cardinal rule ... you never disparage someone else’s chili recipe.

Until today, that is.

While America debates health care, the war in Afghanistan and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, it’s safe to say a person’s chili recipe should rank right up there among the world’s most pressing debates.

I’m not here to cast aspersions on anyone’s chili recipe — that blend of meat and spices and aroma that lures us into overindulgence during the cool months — but I’m afraid this area of our state is chili challenged.

I come to this conclusion, for want of any other proof other than my own observations, because people in this area of Oklahoma tend to make casseroles and call it chili.

If there was an 11th commandment, it would be: thou shalt not throw together a bunch of stray ingredients that sear the palate, meld it with barbecue sauce, hot sauce or beans and then call it chili.

For my expertise and pedigree, I offer the following.

My chili recipe actually comes from the Civil War — the four years this country couldn’t agree on just about anything and killed each other to prove it. So why should the topic of chili prove any different?

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