A Bowl of Red
Terlingua once was a bustling mining town that slid into a decline at the beginning of the twentieth century. Now it’s most commonly known as the ghost town at the foot of Big Bend National Park that hosts an annual Chili Cook Off each fall. Chili is, of course, the quintessential cowboy food, though the origins of the dish are somewhat murky and much debated. San Antonio has strong arguments that their city was the birthplace of the dish, from where it spread to the ranchers and cowboys and eventually the world. The cook off in Terlingua is, however, not an academic forum. Instead 20,000 people (or “chiliheads” as some choose to refer to themselves) travel from around the world to sample the chilis competing for the title of the world’s best.
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