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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Entry from November 14, 2007
“Put chili on stove to simmer. Broil a steak. Eat the steak. Let chili simmer. Ignore it.” (Shivers)

"Put a pot of chili on the back of the stove to simmer. Let it keep simmering. Meanwhile, broil a good sirloin steak. Eat the steak. Let the chili continue to simmer. Then ignore it.”

Texas Governor Allan Shrivers allegedly said this in the 1950s, but written confirmation is lacking. Dallas Morning News columnist Frank X. Tolbert mentioned the quotation twice in his columns in the 1960s and once in his book on chili, A Bowl of Red (1966).

Shivers’ comment was probably made in jest. In 1953, Governor Shivers presented the press with his very own recipe for making venison chili.


Wikipedia: Allan Shivers
Robert Allan Shivers (1907 - 1985) was a Texas politician who led the conservative faction of the Texas Democratic Party during the turbulent 1940s and 1950s. Allan Shivers also developed the lieutenant governor’s post into an extremely powerful perch in state government.

Born October 5, 1907 in Lufkin, the seat of Angelina County in east Texas, Shivers was educated at The University of Texas, having procured a law degree in 1933. In 1934, he was elected to the Texas State Senate, becoming the youngest person to ever serve in the State Senate. He served in the Senate from 1934-1946, except for two years service in the United States Army during World War II, from which he was discharged with the rank of Major.

In 1946, he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas. He is credited with developing the “ideas, practices, and techniques of leadership” that made the office the most powerful post in Texas government. When Governor Beauford Jester died on July 11, 1949, Shivers succeeded him—the only lieutenant governor to gain the governor’s office through the death of his predecessor. In 1950, Shivers won election as the governor in his own right; he then set the three-term precedent by running again and winning in 1952 and 1954. In 1952, Shivers proved so popular that he was listed on the gubernatorial ballot twice, as the nominee of both the Democratic and Republican parties (Democrat Shivers handily defeated Republican Shivers).

Wikipedia: Chili con carne
“Put a pot of chili on the back of the stove to simmer. Let it keep simmering. Meanwhile, broil a good sirloin steak. Eat the steak. Let the chili continue to simmer. Then ignore it.”
– Allan Shivers, Governor of Texas.

7 April 1962, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “"Visit to Coast’s ‘Chili Temple’” by Frank X. Tolbert, section 4, pg. 1:
EARLY IN THE evening I began to think that Dave Chasen’s idea of a chili supper was about like that once outlined by the former Texas governor, Allan Shivers, who said: “Put a pot of chili on the back of the stove to simmer. Let it simmer and simmer. Meanwhile, broil a good sirloin strip. Eat the steak. Let the chili simmer and simmer. Ignore it.” (How Mr. Shivers ever got any of the chili vote with this sort of talk is more than I can explain.)

20 April 1965, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Connally Won’t Lose ‘Chili Vote’” by Frank X. Tolbert, section 4, pg. 1:
“YOUR CHAUVINISTIC comments on chili con carne, Texas style, make me wonder if any Texas politician ever had the courage to publicly express a distaste for this fiery stuff?” write Mrs. Frances Johnson of El Paso. She identifies herself as a “native of Massachusetts who has never acquired a taste for chili, although I might become a convert if I could find some mild enough.”

Well, Mrs. Johnson, he may have been kidding, but while he was serving as Governor, Allan Shivers once came out with an anti-chili statement, his “recipe” for a good meal: “Put a pot of chili on the back of the stove to simmer. Let it simmer and simmer. Meanwhile, broil a good sirloin steak. Eat the steak. Let the chili simmer and simmer. Ignore it.”

Governor Shivers’ pronunciendo was so subtle that it probably didn’t cost him many “chili head votes.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, November 14, 2007 • Permalink