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On the SuperSite, we have a comprehensive, 12-part series on chili con carne. Here’s a selection from Part 2, “Chile Conquers the U.S.A.” Chili became very popular in the Texas jail system between 1890 and 1900, giving some people the idea that the dish originated behind bars. Chili historian Floyd Cogan gives us the reason: “How else could you take bad or cheap cuts of meat, add chile peppers, spices, and herbs and make them taste first rate?” According to Cogan, inmates rated the jails according to the chili that was served, and after serving their time they wrote back to the jails for recipes. “Some, we are told,” added Cogan, “missed it so bad that they committed crimes just to get back in jail so they could once again have their fill of real Texas jail chili.” Read Part 2, “Chile Conquers the U.S.A,” here, with recipes.