Methinks I shall return to this theme for the next week or so. OK?
Today, December 29th, is Texas Admission Day. That is, the anniversary of the admission of the state of Texas to the Union in 1845. So, today is a fine opportunity to address my neglect of this particular corner of the good old US of A.
My difficulty is that I know nothing about the food of Texas apart from what I have learned from watching cowboy movies. I do admit to being greatly intrigued by this dish called ‘chili’, as I love any dish containing ‘chillies’ (or is that ‘chiles’?).
A love of dishes containing chillies hardly, however, qualifies me to enter the ongoing debate about what constitutes an authentic recipe. I assume it is an interpretation of chili con carne? I can say that the dish was already a local delicacy (if anything containing chillies can be said to be delicate) by 1893, when a State chili booth was set up at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
To compensate for the void that is my knowledge of Texan food, I give you a small collection of other people’s thoughts on the topic, and I eagerly await feedback from those of you better informed.
“Texas does not, like any other region, simply have indigenous dishes. It proclaims them. It congratulates you, on your arrival, at having escaped from the slop pails of the other 49 states.”
“To the goggling unbeliever (Texans) say - as people always say about their mangier dishes – “but it's just like chicken, only tenderer.” Rattlesnake is, in fact, just like chicken, only tougher.”
[On Texas chilli] “It can only truly be Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: Damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.”
John Thorne, Simple Cooking
“Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe.”
Harry James (band leader and trumpeter.)
To give an ‘authentic’ historic recipe for Texas chili clearly puts this little Aussie at far too great a risk of offending a large percentage of her readers. May I compromise, and instead give you a recipe for Chili Sauce, taken from a Texan newspaper (The Hearn Democrat) of October 7, 1927?
5 quarts chopped ripe tomatoes.
2 cupfuls chopped red pepper.
2 cupfuls chopped green pepper.
1 ½ cupfuls chopped onions.
3 tablespoonfuls salt.
1 cupful sugar.
3 cupfuls vinegar.
1 teaspoonful cloves.
1 teaspoonful allspice.
1 teaspoonful cinnamon.
Combine the chopped vegetables, the salt, the sugar, and simmer this mixture until it begins to thicken. Then add the vinegar and spices and cook the mixture down until it becomes a thick sauce. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Or bottle the sauce and seal with wax. This recipe yields about three quarts of sauce.
For dessert, may I suggest Texas Pecan Pie?
Today is also the 4th Day of Christmas: to read a previous blog post on this, go HERE.