Tag Archives: Gebhardt

The Texas History of Chili, Both Powdered and Canned

chiliby Steven Doyle

When it comes to modern home chili remedies we have a few people to thank. First there were the “powder men” from the mid 19th century, a term I believe chili maven Frank X Tolbert to have coined, and then there are the butchers who first canned and made brick chili at the dawn of the 20th century to sell to the chili loving consumer.

Tolbert devotes a chapter of his book “Bowl of Red” to the powder men, and waffles on who he thinks brought powdered and packaged chili to mankind. He first attributes William Gebhardt of New Braunfels, but paragraphs later he names DeWitt Pendery of Fort Worth. A little digging shows that both started grinding a powder chili mix in 1890, so it is easy to understand Tolbert’s quandry.    Continue reading

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