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Chill Out for National Chili Day, White Plains

National Chili Day is Feb. 25 so grab yourself a spoon and dig in.
National Chili Day is Feb. 25 so grab yourself a spoon and dig in. Photo Credit: Wikimedia

Attention chili enthusiasts and anyone with a hankering for the savory, meaty stew -- Thursday is National Chili Day.

The celebration on February's fourth Thursday seems fitting. What's better than a fiery dish in winter's coldest month?

When it comes to the story of chili, tales and myths abound. While many food historians agree chili con carne is an American dish with Mexican roots, Mexicans are said to indignantly deny any association with the dish, according to nationalchiliday.com.

Chili lovers say while far-fetched, an origin of the dish lies with Sister Mary Agreda, a Spanish nun in the early 1600s who never left her convent yet had out-of-body experiences in which her spirit was transported across the Atlantic to preach Christianity to the Indians.

After one of the return trips, her spirit, the story goes, wrote down the first recipe for chili con carne: chili peppers, venison, onions and tomatoes.

Another story tells of Canary Islanders who made their way to San Antonio as early as 1723, used local peppers and wild onions combined with various meats to create early chili combinations, nationalchiliday.com says.

Most historians go with the early description of chili, though the word is not mentioned, by J.C. Clopper, who lived near Houston.

"When they [poor families of San Antonio] have to lay for their meat in the market, a very little is made to suffice for the family; it is generally cut into a kind of hash with nearly as many peppers as there are pie," according to Clopper's writing, nationalchiliday.com said.

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