So many chilis, how will we taste them all? Think “chili” and the image that pops into your head will depend on where you are or how you grew up. If you’re from the Midwest, you might picture a bowl of seasoned ground beef, tomatoes and kidney beans topped with cheese and oyster crackers. In Cincinnati, the chili is nestled onto noodles. But there’s nothing like that in Texas chili con carne—no, only cubes of beef marinated in chile paste, onions, and spices, with a side of cornbread. A Kansas City-style chili is red: red kidney beans, red peppers, dark red chili powder, tomatoes, and bacon—all cooked up with a can of beer. New Mexico’s chili is Verde, it’s green coming from tomatillos, jalapeños, and lime.

Some people like it fiery hot; others prefer a more comforting mélange of flavor. Beans or no beans? Noodles or no noodles? Don’t let anyone tell you there can be only one “authentic” chili! To attract a diversity of tastes for UUCW’s Chili Cook-Off, we are featuring three categories: traditional, white, and vegetarian. A lovely white chili takes your taste buds in the direction of white beans, chicken, and milder chiles with a creamy base. Vegetarian chilis get their flavors and textures from the beans—think cannellini, pintos, black beans, or even lentils. Savory vegetables, interesting spices, and even nuts or bits of pineapple can show up. We’re not sure if Frito-pie counts as chili (a basic chili poured over a bag of Fritos and topped with cheese), but that’s ok—we hope you’ll find the one that you love best on October 9 at the Chili Cook-Off!

Inspired? We hope so! We need you! Sign up today to be one of our chili makers and put October 9 on your calendar!