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It sounds like bringing coals to Newcastle, but it is just the thing for pic-nics [sic] and for travelers, and it is easily prepared for family use.”The Kansan reporter’s mention of chili con carne is the first in the database, but the dish must have existed long before 1877; that’s only the year it came to be known by its current name in print.
Almost immediately, the Canarians became the city’s business and political elite, and also, according to Walsh, gave us chili.
He believes that the slow-simmered mélange of meat, garlic, chile peppers, wild onions, and cumin betrays Moroccan (specifically, Berber) influences prevalent in the Canary Islands.
: “The New Abilene Hotel […] is the most comfortable place for drummers [salesmen] and strangers to stop.
Good rooms, fine table; Mexican tamales, chile-con-carne, spring chickens and fish a specialty.”Meanwhile, back in San Antonio, in 1882, it was reported that “Captain Bill Tobin is arranging to ship a car load [by then rail had arrived] of chile con carne to this city.
Tamales were mentioned by name in the damage report, as were “stews.” Once again, what were those stews if not chili?
Neither Ramsdell nor Jameson had access to today’s internet—specifically, newspaper databases searchable by keyword and date.
Although cumin had been on hand in San Antonio spice cabinets before their arrival, True, indigenous Americans had been stewing North American game (venison, turkey, antelope) with native spices for centuries.
In the 1730s, a wandering Swiss Jesuit, Philipp Segesser, came across a dish in southern Arizona he described as composed of roasted crushed chile peppers fried in sizzling lard with chunks of meat. Nope, “chili con-quistadores” (to coin a phrase) was, in his view, more accurately described as “a version of the classic mole poblano, concocted for festive occasions by the Aztecs and by their descendants today, who make it with chicken or turkey.”So if it wasn’t an old Aztec dish, when did chili first become popular in Texas? According to the most widely accepted narrative, chili—along with tamales, enchiladas, and a few other Tex-Mex staples—made its first inroads into the Anglo palate within a decade or two after the Civil War, courtesy of Chili con carne was introduced to America by the “Chili Queens,” women who served food in San Antonio’s Military Plaza as early as the 1860s.
Soup kitchens, serving up free meals to hungry Americans for nothing?
Jameson notes that in 1862 a rowdy element of the city’s Confederate garrison rioted in Military Plaza and wrecked some food stands.
a hard-earth floor on which the fowls are busy bestowing themselves to sleep; a few dishes arranged on the table and glasses and coffee-cups beside them.