The Great Chili Confrontation

Cover of The Great Chili Confrontation by H. Allen Smith
Adoption Amount: $350
Category: Preserve for the Future
Location: Smithsonian Libraries Research Annex

The great chili confrontation : a dramatic history of the decade's most impassioned culinary embroilment (with recipes)

By H. Allen Smith. New York: Pocket Books, 1969.

Before cooking competitions on reality TV, a 1967 throwdown chili cookoff, commemorated in The Great Chili Confrontation, rocked the state of Texas and led to today’s World Chili Champion Cookoff (WCCC). When humorist H. Allen Smith wrote “Nobody Knows More About Chili Than I Do” in Holiday magazine, protesting cries erupted from the Lone Star State at the effrontery of a Midwesterner claiming superiority at their state dish. So in October of ’67 in Terlingua, Smith went head to head with Wick Fowler for the championship. It was declared a tense tie. Soon, the International Chili Society established by-laws for the now annual WCCC, roving across the U.S. and attracting thousands of visitors. That growth couldn’t have happened without the original advertisement for the cookoff: The Great Chili Confrontation. Smith’s recounting of the event contains recipes, poetry, letters, and enough bluster to cool off the hottest bowl of 5-alarm chili.

Condition and Treatment: 

This is a late 20th century paperback. The cover is torn and has a missing corner on the front cover. Pages 163-175 are torn. Conservators will repair the cover and pages using Japanese paper and wheat starch paste. An acid free enclosure will be created to house this fragile volume.

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