February 28, 2013

National Chili Day

"The aroma of good chili should generate rapture akin to a lover's kiss." - the Chili Appreciation Society International's motto

It's National Chili Day!
(Please note: this is a floating food holiday. It occurs on the 4th Thursday of February each year.)

I have always been a huge fan of chili. I was genetically predisposed to be. My grandfather loved it; he used to make me bring him a pint from Wendy's once or twice a week. My mom loved it; when I was growing up, she would make a really incredble meaty, beany, spicy version that she would smother in cheddar cheese, sour cream, and (for me) raw onions. To this day - though her recipe has changed to incorporate our family's dietary needs - she still makes one of the best chili's I've ever had. And I (obviously) love it; after tacos, it was the second food I could make vegan. So, of course, it's always going to have a special place in the culinary corner of my heart.

Chili is thought to have originated in Texas in the early nineteenth century where there were Mexican, Spanish, and Native American cultural influences. Fast forward to current time and there has been great debate throughout the years as to whether or not proper chili should or should not include beans. Since some of the original recipes included just meat chunks and chili peppers, purists believe adding beans is near blasphemy. Others - me included - aren't so heated up (see what I did there?) about it. A good chili is a good chili is a good chili.

Feeling a little under the weather (which makes me entirely impatient and hangry - y'know, when you're so hungry you become angry?), I decided to give in to what I was ultimately craving today: a can of vegan chili mixed with a tub of cream cheese, microwaved until hot, then topped with avocado chunks before dredging really salty tortilla chips through it. It was one of the most perfect things I had eaten in a long time!

Happy National Chili Day!