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American Chili

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A friend of mine from China recently asked me about what I considered the quintessential American food. She said, of course, I couldn't say a hamburger (technically it's German). We continued the conversation talking about the cliche', "...as American as apple pie.", with me realizing that we don't actually eat a lot of apple pie (at least I don't), except for special occasions. That's when I suggested chili might be the answer she was looking for. Obviously it's a regional food, more popular in some geographic areas or others, but mostly wide-spread. Though I forewarned,  some chili recipes (or like canned chili) are notoriously bad, American chili (or chili con carne as we call it here in the U.K.) is a unique dish I rarely see duplicated abroad (and if it is, it's bad). 
I do have some evidence to back it all up. For instance, New York City consumes more chili than the entire state of Texas. Yet, the dish was a Texas invention, modified fr…