Discussing food often leads to debate. For example, any discussion about hot dogs in the newsroom at The Southern Illinoisan leads to a debate about how to cook them and what to put on top. Discussing chili can even be more contentious.

Have you ever gotten a chili recipe from a friend, and the results did not taste quite like the original? Or maybe you have friend with whom you share many secrets, except her chili recipe.

Chili is a Tex-Mex dish that had its debut in San Antonio as chili con carne (no beans). It spread, and now each region has its own unique version of chili. Chili mac is a Midwestern favorite, but you will find no pasta in Frito pies in the South. How about St. Louis slingers, with hash browns, eggs and a hamburger patty? Or chili five ways in Cincinnati.

You don’t really have to travel to different regions to get different versions of the spicy dish. At The Southern Illinoisan, we showcased our employee chili talents with a pre-Super Bowl Chili Cook-off on Friday.

Our employee breakroom was lined with simmering crock pots filled with the fiery fire, the mild and the "white" chilies. We also had all the add-ons like sour cream, crackers and cheese, and plenty of dessert.

The chilies were (click the links to see the recipes):

"Not Too Hot, Not Too Mild' Chili" by Lisa Morgan, accounting supervisor

"White Chicken Chili" by Rose Baffi, retail ad assistant

• "Ring of Fire Chili" by Craig Rogers, publisher

"Venison Chili," by Wally Earll, building maintenance supervision

"Simply Mild Chili" by Becky Hooker, accounting clerk

"3 Guys Chili," by Brandon Byars, webmaster

"Nock on Chili," Aimee Elkin, circulation operations manager

Employees voted on the winners. Lisa Morgan's "Not Too Hot, Not Too Mild Chili" won the contest, follwed in second by "Vennison Chili" by Wally Earll. Aimee Elkins and Craig Rogers tied for third place. 

stephanie.esters@thesouthern.com

618-351-5805

On Twitter: @scribeest

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Reporter

Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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