Chill out with chili

Illustration by Serene Lusano

What is American cuisine? It’s a common discussion with no real answer, but one wholeheartedly American dish is chili. Before World War II, there were chili parlors throughout Texas slinging beefy, bean-less versions. That’s another common discussion: what belongs in chili? Beans are contentious in some parts of the country, as are tomatoes. Some recipes call for bacon, beer and chocolate. And don’t even get me started on Cincinnati chili. In any case, there are no rules for what can and can’t go in the chili at the Old Town Elk Grove Chili Festival on Saturday, May 21, located in the historic Old Town Plaza (9615 Railroad Street). Admission is free, and $5 gets you six chili samples. With more than 20 cooks dishing out what they think is the best chili around, you may want to plan on additional tasting. More at