(PCM) Most food holidays are set for a specific date, as if the food industry people got together and threw darts at a calendar. National Chili Day is a bit different; like Thanksgiving, it’s celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month (February, in this case). Why? We’re not sure. Maybe the thinking is just that chili and chili culture are such a big deal in this country that we’ve set a whole day aside to be thankful for it.
Chili or Chili con carne (chili with meat) is a stew made with chile peppers and meat and usually other things, though what makes real or best chili is a hot button topic for serious connoisseurs. Tomatoes and beans (such as kidneys or pintos) are traditional additions for many modern fans and vegetarian chili eschews meat altogether, while other purists prefer something closer to chili’s rustic roots as the go-to grub of pioneers and ranchers (beef, fat, chiles and salt).
Garlic, onions, cumin, oregano and dried chili powders are classic ingredients that cross most chili borders, though there is a great deal of regional and individual variation; innovations on the typical chili recipe range everywhere from chocolate to beer. Common toppings for chili include cheese, crackers, sour cream or diced garnishes (tomatoes, onions, scallions), with sides of rice, tortillas, or cornbread.
However you like your chili, if you’re like most people you prefer it hot – perfect for a cold February evening. Happy National Chili Day!