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Brutal Antipathy is a pseudonym for a blogger and forum debate enthusiast whose views often rest well outside of social baseline. A self confirmed atheist, misanthropist, and sadist, his commentary ranges from parched textbook facts to satire and sarcasm. He is a proponent of free speech and individual liberty even when these are taken to excess. His political views shift between lower case libertarian and enlightened despotism depending on the level of contempt he is feeling for his fellow humans at any given moment. His reading interests include history, general science, archaeology, comparative religion, psychology, & sociology. Other interests and hobbies include practicing various crafts, torturing his slave, blogging, playing with his dogs, collecting antiques, role playing & tactical simulation games, renaissance fairs, and cheerfully making other people miserable by holding up a mirror of their shortcomings and repeatedly bashing them in the face with it. L is the owned slave of BA. She basically has the same interests and views as her owner except in music.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Chili Gene

A Little Pot of Chili

This is going to be sort of like explaining color to the blind, but I thought I would attempt to enlighten the world about chili. I wish that I could teach you all how to make chili, but most humans lack the chili gene necessary for creating it. This is why chili recipes invariably fail. There is no recipe for chili. You either have the chili gene and therefore know how to make it, or else you lack this particularly beneficial gene and no amount of instruction will ever allow you to make it.

This Man Put Beans in Chili
 There are a few litmus tests for the chili gene, and they are really quite simple. Just answer the following question. Do you put beans in chili? If you answered yes, then you lack the gene. Likewise, rice, noodles, hominy, or other fillers are strictly verboten and likely to get you shot. An answer of no does not necessarily mean that you have the gene.

Chili Meat
Another method of testing for the chili gene is your selection of meat. Red meat and only red meat is to be used for chili. Red meat contains high levels of a protein called myoglobin that gives red meat its color, is especially tasty, and chemically bonds with chili powder in order to give it one of the greatest flavors known to mankind. Beef (except for veal), bison, venison, goat/lamb, elk, moose, musk ox, raccoon, armadillo, opossum, and squirrel are acceptable, and rumor has it that kangaroo, ostrich, duck, and goose might work as well, though I am extremely skeptical of the last three. Any white meat selection is an automatic indication of your lacking the chili gene. Again, a correct answer does not automatically indicate that you have the gene. Is is simply an indicator.

The third test is another question. Is there such a thing as vegetarian chili? If you answered yes you not only do not carry the chili gene, but you have a recessive gene that will prevent any offspring you might have from ever acquiring the gene, regardless as to how many chili gene carriers they might breed with.

Effects of Hot Chili on non Chili Gene Carrier

The forth and final quick test has to do with the location of your birth. The chili gene came about as a biological adaptation to the dietary practices of residents of San Antonio, Texas. With an average temperature of a little above broil, little vegetation grows in San Antonio. Early pioneers were forced to consume prickly pear cactus, chili peppers, tumbleweeds, and basketballs. Of these, the chili peppers were the most palatable. However there was a problem with their consumption. Native San Antonio chili peppers scored about 2 billion in Scoville Heat Units, an oddity since pure capsaicin only measures 16 million SHU. The first taste testers spontaneously combusted and would have caused widespread devastation were the area not totally devoid of combustibles. Then an ingenious Hispanic street cook came up with a revolutionary idea. She fed chili peppers to a horse (which is also red meat). The horse exploded, but the pioneers consumed the chunks that landed on the scalding hot soil.  A few of them died from the residual pepper heat, but most survived and continued to enjoy the meals of equine explosions. Adventurous street cooks began feeding their horses other herbs and vegetables prior to the volatile peppers to increase the flavor and cut down on the temperature. Tomatoes, garlic, onion, paprika, and cumin stuffed horses became the delicacy we know as chili today.

But I digress. The San Antonio natives that survived the consumption of peppered stallion possessed a recessive gene that gave them some small protection from the ill effects of atomic capsaicin, and they passed it on to their offspring. This same gene allowed them to detect the flavor underneath the excruciating pain. As these people spread throughout Texas, they carried the gene with them. Today roughly 50% of all Texans carry the chili gene. This means that if you are a native Texan you have a 50/50 chance. This might not seem like much, but considering that only 1 in every million non Texans carry the gene, it does give you a decisive edge.

The only way to tell for certain if you possess the gene or not is to attempt a pot of chili and then have someone that possess the chili gene taste it and pronounce it to be chili. These individuals are best identified as the winners of the Terlingua International Chili Championship. Find one of these esteemed ladies or gentlemen, present them with a bowl, cross your arms, draw your lips tight, and wait. A nod will tell you if you have the gene. The proper response is a curt nod back at them and perhaps a grunt.

Now that we have discussed the genetic criteria for making chili, lets look at the ingredients.

1. Red meat with most of the fat trimmed, ground or cubed.

2. Some form of tomato, be it chunk, sauce, or paste.

3. Chili powder, preferably which you have made yourself.

4. Garlic, finely minced.

5. Onion, minced.

6. Cumin, just enough

7. Paprika

8. More Chili powder, dark this time.

9. Cayenne pepper to taste. 1 dash to 5 tablespoons.

10. A little oregano.

11. Salt.

12. Water, though beer will work in a pinch.

13. A few shakes of chili powder.

14. 5-20 shakes of Tabasco sauce.

15. 1/2 cup habeneros (mild), law enforcement grade pepper spray (regular), or pure capsaicin (hot).

16. Masa flour to thicken.

That's it. The entire ingredients for chili are right above. It is the proportions of these ingredients that make chili chili. As all meat will absorb flavors differently, all tomatoes will have more or less water content, all chili powders will have different flavors and heat, there is no hard and fast recipe for combining these ingredients proportionately. If you have the chili gene, your nose, eyes, and tongue will tell your hands how to combine everything. If you don't have the gene, ain't nuthin' I can do to help ya.

Brick Chili

A final word about commercial chili. There are two major forms of this. Brick chili, and canned chili. Brick chili is made by pressing out most of the moisture, allowing the chili to congeal at room temperature or cooler, forming it into a half brick, and wrapping it in wax paper. It is exceedingly rare to find brick chili these days, but usually well worth your effort if you do.

The ONLY Real Canned Chili

As for canned chili, there is one and only one. Wolf Brand Chili was originally made and sold by a rancher outside of Corsicana, Texas. The name was inspired by the rancher's pet wolf. No other canned chili comes remotely close to it and range from nasty to canned dog food like that sold by Hormel as a cruel joke.


  1. best chili I ever had was at the Henderson I-Days celebration, Henderson NEV. Jeff made it with something he got in Mexico. He called it parsley and it came in a commercial package.

    What it was, I still don't know, but the chili was awesome.

    Emu does make good chili.

  2. Mexican parsley is cilantro, one of the few non essential ingredients you can add to chili without ruining it.

  3. So you don't want to try my gourmet chili lobster?

  4. Ohhh Brandy, you poor genetic throwback. If only I could smack you on the nose with a rolled up newspaper.