A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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“If I had a dollar for every existential crisis I’ve ever had…does money even matter?” (6/27)
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Entry from December 07, 2006
Bowl of Blessedness (Will Rogers on chili)

Will Rogers supposedly called chili a “bowl of blessedness,” but no one’s found that quote.

Chili Quotes and Trivia
Will Rogers (1879-1935), popular actor, cattleman, banker, and journalist, called chili “bowl of blessedness.” It is said that Will Rogers judge a town by the quality of its chili. He sampled chili in hundreds of towns, especially in Texas and Oklahoma and kept a box score. He concluded that the finest chili (in his judgment), was from a small cafe in Coleman, Texas.

10 April 1977, Port Arthur (TX) News, “Chili as official state dish” editorial, pg. 4
As O’Henry (O. Henry is correct—ed.) once wrote, probably while sobering up on his favorite dish in the local lockup, Texas chili is truly “a bowl of blessedness.”
18 March 1982, Frederick (MD) Post, “The chili controversy—who is superior,” pg. F7:
Frank X. Tolbert’s fondly named “bowl of red” is Will Rogers’ “bowl of blessedness.” And, still other people refer to the spicy, savory dish as the “soup of the devil.”

11 October 1984, Chicago Tribune, pg. F10D:
IF THERE is one controversy the world may never settle, it is the Great Chili Debate. How hot, how thick, how red—even which basic ingredients to use—have been topics of dispute since before Will Rogers described the stuff as “the bowl of blessedness.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, December 07, 2006 • Permalink