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National Chili Month!

October is National Chili Month, so let’s look at some fun facts about one of our favorite comfort foods:
• Chili is a spicy stew made with chili peppers, ground meat, beans and tomatoes.
• Around 1723, some food historians believe that chili was introduced to the U.S. by immigrants from the Canary Islands.
• In the 1880’s, chili stands were set up at a market in San Antonio. The women who sold there were called “chili queens”. It is said that William Jennings Bryant, a presidential hopeful, paid ten cents for a “bowl o’red” dinner that included bread and a glass of water.
• The fame of chili con carne started to spread around the country, and the dish was featured at Chicago’s World’s Fair, in 1893.
• Americans consumed 125 million cans of chili in 2020. They expect that number will increase to 128 million cans by 2024.
• President Lyndon B. Johnson was a big chili fan. He said, “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.”
• Chasen’s Hollywood Restaurant may have made the most famous chili. Chauffeurs and studio people, actors and actresses would go to the back door of the restaurant to buy chili by the quart. Jack Benny, J. Edgar Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Elizabeth Taylor were just some of the famous people who went there. They say that Clark Gable had Chasen’s chili sent to his hospital room on the night he died.
• In 1895, Lyman T. Davis, of Texas, made chili that he sold from his wagon for five cents a bowl. He called it Wolf Brand Chili, and it is still available in stores. Look for a photo of his pet wolf on the label!