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Are Beans Allowed? And Other Important Questions about Texas Chili While It's Relevant.

It's still cold out, if you haven't noticed. And as long as the mercury is low and the skies are gray, American kitchens will be filled with the smells of chili. We proved as much right here, when a quick scan of the Lakewood Whole Foods determined onions, canned tomatoes and ground beef -- the building blocks for a pot of red -- had all been decimated by ravenous customers before snow and ice shut down Dallas for days.

The New York Times agrees, as evidenced by their massive spread on the great meat stew timed with the great polar vortex. There are a number of recipes, some chili history and an appearance by Robb Walsh, Texas food historian and former critic at our sister paper, Houston Press

In addition to offering his own recipe for chili, Walsh fields questions about those pesky legumes that has so many Texans up in arms. Beans are fine in chili, according to the author of several regional cookbooks, as long as it's a one-pot meal. According to our completely unscientific Whole Foods research, that just the kind of chili many Dallasites turn to when the weather gets cranky. If the chili is meant for another dish like Tex-Mex enchiladas, however, Walsh says beans are seriously frowned upon.

In an effort to bring chili fanatics together, the author offers a chili recipe for the masses, an amalgam of chili recipes compiled after years of chili research. Dubbed Just Good Chili the recipe calls for beer and coffee, cocoa powder and chili sauce, and two kinds of beans -- white and kidney. It is a chili that could bring us all together.

Of course with weather forecasters predicting a five-day run of sunny, progressively warmer weather, all this cold weather chili information could feel quickly outdated. But chances are there will be another cold snap or two before spring comes along, and if there is, you'll be more than ready, beans or not.

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