How The Chili Cook-Off Invented Hip Hop aka Manifest Destiny’s Child

I for once am at a complete loss for completely random themes/narratives to diving into this blog to hopefully come up for air in a bowl of gnarly green-go bride’s maid/red ribbon/silver medal posole.

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I’ve mulled over subjects ranging from performance enhancing drugs to the opening scene in Apocalypse Now to Paczki (Pooch-keys) to texting in movie theaters to Zumbani gravy to daily affirmations for documentaries about sociopathic enlightened despots to fantasy baseball draft fantasies to glamping with Ernest Hemmingway and Campell McGrath to the death croak of a Florida Keys grouper to second helpings of ponch-keys to Kate Moss Single Malt Scotch to National Chili Day to Jon Wayne: Rap Album One to red to salt on ice cream to Colorado the state not the color because it’s blue and confusing but not nearly as baffling as the state “dish’ that goes by the name of Green Chili which is actually a clear soup the consistency of stomach flu bi-products made from John Denver’s sweat. I am not a fan, per se, of this Rocky Mountain version and so over the course of a few years holed up in Eagle County Colorado I mastered – so said my reflection in the mirror – a Varsity vat of a Colorado green chile pork stew soup thing.

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A-ha! That’s it, the chili cook-off as Wild West Shoot out.


Vaya! But of course!!!! Calling all social anthropologists and cultural studies majors. This here is a landmark discovery in the field. If we trace the origins of hip hop….


Okay so I lost most of you at the mention of ‘studies”. Oye oye, hear me out. Why doesn’t it make sense outside of Norte del Mexico where even the arrest of El Chapo sadly means only a short term cease fire in the otherwise wily, wild, outlaw ‘culture” in the CONCBPS (Country of Old Narco Capos with Bad Plastic Surgery)


and I don’t mean for this to read like a Margaret Mead treatise but smash me in the face with a cast iron skillet if my brain didn’t just fart up the origins of not just the chili cook-off but how one can actually draw a meandering line from let’s say for the sake of argument, Reno to The Bronx.


Damn it feels good to be a meanderer….

Once upon a time the Westwardly moving white Europeans, mostly bitter Civil War veterans on the losing team, taking notes watching John Ford and Clint Eastwood movies, having fulfilled “Manifest Destiny” these pioneers met with a vast nothingness that is Pacific Ocean and/or California. Having slaughtered their way across this great Nation their government and employers claimed as theirs, and because this was a time before PTSD – when Men were Men and so were children and women – again, according my notes once the land and narcotics ran out, these frontier people devoid of war, spirit, country, education, television, harmony, teeth, tolerance – ergo a meaningful existence – well, they simply seethed with fight. And as y’all know, you can take the rebel out of Dixie but take his right to bear arms (read: shoot people) and he may very well take you out.

Again, this according to Time-Life, John Ford, Clint, Skynrd. without bison and/or Indians to slaughter – and ignoring for the moment – just like Mr. Ford, Clint, and text books – all surrounding land and culture was recently Mexican/co – and their autonomic nervous systems basically cooking up a freebase of “fight” hormones atop their cerebral cortexes everyone naturally turned on one another: Outlaws vs Posses. Nobody served “the law”  or even the lord anymore. All answered to a higher order called “Justice”. They brought it on each other day in and day out. Sound familiar? Yep, The West Coast and gang violence go together like Ice Cube and Coors Light.

What throws this hypothesis for a loop though is that, well, the whole hip-hop anti-violence connection happened years before gangsta rap invented itself and yes, it wasn’t in the Wild West but up in the Bronx where the Zulu Warriors brought the peace by having kids remix all those “fight” hormones into “funk’, giving birth to break dancing/beats/tag throw downs and everyone really needs to read all about it in the flyiest, hypest, phattest comic book since Luke Cage: Power Man.


Man, but do I love to digress. If I didn’t lose you at “studies” or “hypothesis” or “Coors Light” then…anyway, just as knife fights and gunplay and brass knuckles in The Bronx went the way of the 8-track tape as rap contests supplanted violence.


I mean, I think it is safe, and culturally insensitive to say that the smoke the world saw during game whatever of the World Series which inspired Cosell to spout, “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is buring”

and for many marked the birth of hip hop can be read as a Wild West tale with a Hollywood ending, though most Hollywood Westerns wipe out all the bad guys (and Indians) instead of teaching them to dance/rap/tag or make chili. Anyway, again, take Dr. Who’s phone booth time-travel fetish back to the late 1800s when both chili became a staple dish and the violence in the Wild West went the way of the bison and/or most Indians probably because the pioneers killed each other off, ran out of bullets or became Mormons but what if that twernt the case as all?


Why? What? Where? Who cares? Don’t ask me to answer anything but How for now. What I propose, and it’s yet to be documented or maybe I just haven’t bothered Googling it yet, that the Chili Cooking Contest were the Rapper’s Delight of the Wild West. The proof, my friends is blowing in the lyrics:

Have you ever went over a friend’s house to eat
And the food just ain’t no good
I mean the macaroni’s soggy the peas are mushed
And the chicken tastes like wood
So you try to play it off like you think you can
By saying that you’re full
And then your friend says momma he’s just being polite
He ain’t finished uh uh that’s bull
So your heart starts pumping and you think of a lie
And you say that you already ate
And your friend says man there’s plenty of food
So you pile some more on your plate
While the stinky food’s steaming your mind starts to dreaming
Of the moment that it’s time to leave
And then you look at your plate and your chickens slowly rotting
Into something that looks like cheese
Oh so you say that’s it I got to leave this place
I don’t care what these people think
I’m just sitting here making myself nauseous
With this ugly food that stinks
So you bust out the door while its still closed
Still sick from the food you ate
And then you run to the store for quick relief
From a bottle of kaopectate
And then you call your friend two weeks later
To see how he has been
And he says I understand about the food
Baby bubbah but we’re still friends
With a hip hop the hippie to the hippie
The hip hip a hop a you don’t stop the rocking

If this isn’t an ironic post-modern wink to Chili Cook-offs then it’s probably just some classic food lyrics forever funny as shit.

Any any any…via


What is it about Chili Cook-offs that ended Random acts of Wild West Violence?

a. Slaughtering the meat = slaughtering the innocents

b. Beating someone over a burbling vat of chili  =  beating them with your stump

c. Brining on the chili pepper mouth heat = rabbit punch

d. Weapons of Mass Diareha  = Weapons of Mass Destruction

e Quality farts = quality farts

f. All of the above kept me from hauling off and kicking some little shit’s ass for not just beating me in a chili contest in Colorado circa 2008 but also taunting me by referring to me as “Jack Ass” (for the popular film and television star of the era, whom I purportedly resembled) during the awards ceremony (..still).

Answer: f

That blogged, here’s my losing recipe for Gnarly Green-Go-Stop-The-Violence Chile Posole (alias: Bride’s Maid Green Manna Leashy With The Three Pronged Claw, Stiffed by the Soviets Silver Medal Stew, Blue Ribbon Burgoo et al)

Gnarly Green-Go-Stop-The-Violence Chile Posole



1 PORK (Shoulder or Roast; so long as it’s nice and fatty)

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1 cup o’ NM Green Chile (seeded and stemmed)

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1 Yellow Onion

1 garlic head (oven roasted in olive oil/salt/pepper @ 400 degrees for 45 min)

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Tomatillos (boiled)

Stock (chicken)

Flour (white)

Butter (yum)

Cilantro (fresh)

Mexican Oregano (old)

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

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Brown one inch chunks of pork in oil and butter (roll in flour or don’t) – place in crock pot/stew pot

Brown onion in left over pork oil, add to pork – add salt/pepper/oregano

Blend tomatillos, green chile and garlic with a splash stock until smooth and pour over pork and onions. Add chicken stock, if needed, to completely cover pork.

Cook on low heat for 6 hours and then some.

Top a bowl off with a handful of cooked hominy, a dollop of sour cream, a squeeze of lime and some chopped cilantro sprigs. (Goes good with cheese crisp.)

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Eat. Rap. Delight.

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