Saturday, July 23, 2005

Future Chili

Future Chili

Future Chili (2000)

From APSnet -- "Chile Pepper and the Threat of Wilt Diseases":

Chile, chili, and chilli; which is which? The literature on “peppers” contains a confusing labyrinth of names with various derivations and slight nuances of meaning. Etymologically, the word “chile” is derived from the Aztec language, and refers to Capsicum peppers in Central America including Mexico, and in several parts of southwestern United States. The word “chili” is thought to be the anglicized form of “chile” and now denominates pungent types of Capsicum peppers in the United States. Similarly, the words “chilli” (singular form) or “chillies” (plural form) are used in Middle Eastern and Asian countries in connection with pungent forms. In 1983, Senator Domenici from New Mexico introduced a bill to formalize the word “chile” as the correct way of spelling Capsicum pepper. According to Bosland and Votava, a “chile powder” contains ground fruit of Capsicum plant, whereas “chili powder” would contain a mixture of chile powder with one or more of other ingredients such as onion and garlic.
According to an old Southwestern American Indian legend and tale (several modern writer have documented - or maybe just "passed along") it is said that the first recipe for chili con carne was put on paper in the 17th century by a beautiful nun, Sister Mary of Agreda of Spain. She was mysteriously known to the Indians of the Southwest United States as "La Dama de Azul," the lady in blue. Sister Mary would go into trances with her body lifeless for days. When she awoke from these trances, she said her spirit had been to a faraway land where she preached Christianity to savages and counseled them to seek out Spanish missionaries.

It is certain that Sister Mary never physically left Spain, yet Spanish missionaries and King Philip IV of Spain believed that she was the ghostly "La Dama de Azul" or "lady in blue" of Indian Legend. It is said that sister Mary wrote down the recipe for chili which called for venison or antelope meat, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers. No accounts of this were ever recorded, so who knows?

On March 9, 1731, a group of sixteen families (56 persons) arrived from the Canary Islands at Bexar, the villa of San Fernando de BĂ©xar (now know as the city of San Antonio). They had emigrated to Texas from the Spanish Canary Islands by order of King Philip V. of Spain. The King of Spain felt that colonization would help cement Spanish claims to the region and block France's westward expansion from Louisiana. These families founded San Antonio’s first civil government which became the first municipality in the Spanish province of Texas. According to historians, the women made a spicy “Spanish” stew that is similar to chili.

Some Spanish priests were said to be wary of the passion inspired by chile peppers, assuming they were aphrodisiacs. A few preached sermons against indulgence in a food which they said was almost as "hot as hell's brimstone." "Soup of the Devil," one called it. The priest's warning probably contributed to the dish's popularity.

Records were found by Everrette DeGolyer (1886-1956), a Dallas millionaire and a lover of chili, indicating that the first chili mix was concocted around 1850 by Texan adventurers and cowboys as a staple for hard times when traveling to and in the California gold fields and around Texas. Needing hot grub, the trail cooks came up with a sort of stew. They pounded dried beef, fat, pepper, salt, and the chile peppers together. This amounted to "brick chili" or "chili bricks" that could be boiled in pots along the trail. DeGolyer said that chili should be called "chili a la Americano" because the term chili is generic in Mexico and simply means a hot pepper. He believed that chili con carne began as the "pemmican of the Southwest."
Having a problem with squirrels and other furry creatures eating your birdseed? Birds don't seem to mind ground chili peppers, while it is great fun to watch squirrels leap three feet straight into the air the first time they taste salsa birdseed.

Inca Indians still tie a string of chilis behind their boat to repel sharks. To our knowledge, no one has tried this in Wall Street yet.

Sometimes, when rendering a fractal, I tell my wife that the image is cooking, but today's image was made on a cold winter afternoon while a pot of homemade chili simmered on the stove. It seems art imitates life.


Hey, if interested, why not surf over to my guest gallery currently on display at the Museum of Computer Art?

And in the Dear Abby category, I'd welcome some advice. Although I update this blog daily, Technorati says I haven't updated in over a month and a half, nor has Technorati indexed my last 45 posts. I've written them multiple times but have never received a reply. My blog settings are correct, and I ping Technorati along with other services. Only Technorati does not seem to "see" me. What's my problem? Bad coding? Too many links? Blogger Fubar? If you aren't as clueless as I apparently am, please slip any cure-all suggestions in the comments or drop me an email. I'll be grateful.

And, you know, since I'm so chatty today, let me take this opportunity to also say thanks for coming by to read and view this rambling visual diary of mine...

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