I agree that the best chili is the one you like most. That being said, there is something to be said for the "pure" chili as well. It is reich and flavorful. It is a rare and therefore special dish. It is also expensive to make.
For our Chili contest here in my home town (way up on the Canadian border), real chili doesn't stand a chance as that's not what we're used to. In fact, the chili's that have one at the last two event I attended resembled first, sloppy joe filling, and the second year, something left over when they cleaned the chili pot, very, very watered down, flavorless stuff. But the judges were local except for one, and he took me aside afterwards and told me that people in my home town don't have a clue about good chili, and I agree.
I use tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, black beans, pinto beans, ground beef, onions, etc. in my chili. Why, because I like it that way, and it's much less expensive to make this kind of chili for a crowd. It's well received and everyone loves it. What more can I ask of a dish? If I could give it another name, to preserve the original cowboy chili, I probably would . But everyone knows it as chili, and that's what I'll continue to call it. And if chili being a major contributor to the flavor justifies the name, then my chili should be called chili.
I'm not going to tell someone that because they through cinamon into their recipe that theirs is not real chili. To them it is. Just as so many people around these parts call macaroni noodles with tomato, onions, and maybe some green peppers, goulash. It's nothing of the sort. But that's what they call it.
I know the difference, but does it really matter. If I want real chili, than I can certainly make it. If I want the stuff I grew up with, I can make it as well. They're both mighty tasty and worth eating.
Arguing over a name seems foolish to me. But then again, I may be the foolish one not to argue over a name. It just depends on your perspective. As Einstein noted, everything is relative to your perspective and is unique to you.
Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
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