Melissa admits in the comments of a previous post that she, a native Texan, cooks her Texas Red with beans. That gave me pause, but I bit my tongue and said nothing. I used to become all biblical when people admitted they added beans to their chili because I was a firm believer that chili wasn’t true chili if it had beans; it was meat and bean soup. And yes, some places like Wendy’s serve a dish they call chili but it’s just ground beef, tomato and beans in broth. But I’ve realized that most people make their chili with beans, and I’ve had the pleasure of eating their spicy concoctions. And more often than not, it felt like a bowl of chili, never mind the beans. So if most of the world puts beans in their chili, does this make it the standard? I don’t know. I do know that I don’t add beans to my chili--it's just meat, chili peppers and secret spices. And to many of the uninitiated it seems bizarre. “What, no beans?” said one friend when I gave him a bowl (he was a NYC chili champion and yes, he uses beans). But he ate it, and while deeming it unlike any chili he’d ever had, it conceded it was still the best chili he’d ever had (OK, I’m not immodest about my Texas Red, but, hey, everyone needs one thing they’re good at, right?). So to bean or not to bean, that is the question. What do you think?
I will say this: if you’re going to add beans, and you’re going to add canned beans, you can only add one brand: Ranch Style Beans, made in Fort Worth, Texas. They used to be Husband Pleasin’ but a few years ago they became Appetite Pleasin’ (I reckon the company realized that the wife and kids enjoyed them, too). I don’t know if they sell these any place besides Texas (my supply comes from my mom who always puts a few cans in my Christmas stocking), but they are divine. Check them out if you've never had them.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Posted by Lisa Fain (Homesick Texan) at 3:15 PM