Why another cooking blog?

I decided to create this blog as a way for family and friends to see what I'm cooking and to share interesting food related tidbits I come across.
I'm frequently asked for recipes so I thought this would be a good place to start collecting the old, new, and funky recipes that I have.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chili - beans vs. no beans

"If you know beans about chili, you know chili has no beans," by Jerry Jeff Walker
My last recipe sparked a bit of a debate.  Chili - beans or no beans?
I personally will eat pretty much any kind of chili if you put it in front of me. But I guess there is a bit of an issue as to if the dish that contains beans can actually bear the name "chili".

After a quick google search of "chili standards" which on a side note resulted in 9.1 million results. Wow. Strangely enough one of the top results was ChiliProject which happens to be project management software.... I digress. That's a topic for a later/diff blog.
So I explored a bit and came across - chilicookoff.com otherwise known as the International Chili Society (ICS). I figure these people know what they are talking about. They are a society after all.
The website says the ISC is a "non-profit organization that sanctions chili cookoffs with judging and cooking rules & regulations". Apparently they are recognized worldwide. I'll admit, that certainly sounds like a SME (subject matter expert) to me.
Alas, the very first rule on the rules & regulations page states:
"Traditional Red Chili is defined by the ICS as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden".
So what gives! What's with the hatred of beans? All you vegetarians out there are SOL.
I found a different article here, it mentions historically speaking chili did not have beans mainly because dried beans can be time consuming to prepare for the cowboys while on the cattle trail.
Now THAT makes a little more sense to me.  Even still.... we are not cowboys on the trail. And I like beans.
What I gather is that in a competition it is not acceptable to toss some beans in your chili.
However! The Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI) does allow for an "other" category in which your chili can have other 'fillers' such as beans among other things.
My next question is that if historically beans were not added to chili, when did this start happening?
This article from ezineearticles.com says
"Chili with beans could have come about during the Great Depression as an inexpensive way to stretch out the dish, because by the 1950's, the controversy had began."
I can buy into that theory. It makes sense. This leads me to believe that beans came out of necessity. That sounds odd. Anywho....
Wikipedia has a lot to say on the subject. Basically wikipedia says "Texas style chili" has no beans. Well played wikipedia. I accept your qualifier and will use it as my own.
Therefore... I do not make Texas style chili (well I do but that's another post). I make Nichole style chili. And I like it that way... with beans.


  1. As a former one-time CASI Chili Cook-off judge, I know they have strict rules, including don't allow beans...

    But who doesn't like beans? I mean really...

  2. Agreed, beans are great! Rest assured my chili will not be submitted into any cook-offs any time soon.