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Five-Alarm Debate Rages about Chili Episode

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Mar 08, 2012
Five-Alarm Debate Rages about Chili Episode

Eaters are weighing in about our recent episode on chili. It's a mix of tips and fiery disagreement. David in Colorado is an example of the latter on our Facebook page:

Might contain peppers?! Surely the presence of chili pepper, usually in the form of chili powder, is the central defining feature of chili.

And Leran in Washington, DC is distressed:

I typically agree with y'all on a lot things, but this episode made me sad throughout.... 1) Why topping at all? Maybe if you're eating an inferior chili.... I am a HUGE cheese lover and find crazy ways to add cheese to most things, but I would cry if someone put cheese on my chili. ‎2) Spice is totally a flavor, Dan! I totally agree you can have spice with just the sake of spice without flavor and that is a big no in my book, but all sorts of chili peppers that bring spice to a recipe also bring a lot of flavor along with that spice.

More passionate appeals appeared in Sporkful's inbox:

Many came from Eaters with Texas ties, like Steven, who wrote a 10-point rebuttal, including this point:

Please listen to the Sporkful episode on ice cream toppings. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Dan was ADAMANT [Mark: it was me] that good ice cream needed no toppings. If you needed toppings, it was because your ice cream was no good. I apply the same logic to chili. If you want to put cheese, sour cream, raw onion and jalapeno slices on your chili and serve it with (or on) tortilla chips, congratulations, you just invented "nachos."

He also says beans don't belong in chili and Ben concurs:

Beans are an abomination. They can be served as a side item with chili if you have Yankees or Okies on your invite list, but chili cooked with beans is just all wrong.

Nancy in Florida makes the same case for omitting beans and also takes issue with terminology:

You kept talking about “spicy” when you meant “heat.” Did you not hear me shouting at you? I was the one in the gray Ford Focus wagon driving in Beverly Hills, FL on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, yelling, “Heat! Heat!” You can have a spicy dish and have it not sear your esophagus. Cinnamon and nutmeg can make a dish spicy and they’re not hot.

Nancy, we hear you and the other Eaters now. Thanks all for weighing in and keep the discussion going in the comments here. /mark

Photo: Flickr CC / pacdog

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