Some Like it Hot
Whether you like your chili hot and spicy, or bold and smokey, a chili to your liking will be found at Larkins Restaurant, during the chili cook-off, Saturday Oct 8th.
The American Chili Cook-off: A Brief History
Although the actual history is a bit sketchy, it is thought that the first chili cook-off took place somewhere between the early 1950’s and 1967 in Texas. According to The Daily Times Herald of Dallas, there was a Chili “Event” in 1952. The Headline read “Woman Wins But Men Do Well in Chili Event”. Fifteen years later in Terlingua Texas, the gauntlet was thrown when H. Allen Smith wrote an article for Holiday Magazine, titled “Nobody knows More About Chili Than I Do”.
The Challenge was accepted by a Man named Wick Fowler. Victory was not a dish served hot, as the two man chili cook-off ended in a tie as the judge called it off stating his taste buds had been ruined. Each small Texas town claims to be the birthplace of the chili cook-off but regardless of the origin, the popularity of the chili cook-off has been growing.
In the small town of Lowell, Michigan, residents will tell you the birthplace is Larkins. Fifteen years and running, the Larkins Chili Madness Chili Cook-Off brings in the crowds. The fiery red delight, comes in a cornucopia of flavors, covering a wide range on the scoville unit scale.
Always For a Good Cause
The adventurous chili sampler should know the inevitable scorched tongue is always for a good cause. Proceeds from the tasting fees each year go to a worthy charity chosen by Mike Larkin. This year is no exception. The Moving to Main campaign for LowellArts! will be the recipient this year.
Cook-off attendees will be treated to a sneak peak walk through of the new gallery as a special bonus. Dig into a robust bowl of chili, quench your burning tongue with an icy cold glass of beer all the while listening to the bluegrass tones of “Homebrewed”.
Larkins has been a staple of the Lowell Community since it opened in 1978. When a customer approached Mike Larkin with the idea of hosting a chili cook-off, he jumped on the idea. Mike always believed it would be a good way to bring the community together and to raise money for a good cause. From the very beginning, proceeds were donated to community causes, including FROM, the Ivan Blough Scholarship Fund, St. Mary’s Pregnancy Center and the Alpha Family Center.
When asked why, after all these years he still enjoys the Chili Cook-off, Mike explained that “The Chili cook-off is like a class reunion. Old friends getting together once a year doing something good for the community”. Anyone who visits Larkins knows that it is always like visiting family. After all these years, walking through the doors of Larkins one should feel the comfort and familiarity of a hometown restaurant and friendly faces.
Prepare for the Heat
Join the Larkins crowd at 1:00pm and listen to music while enjoying a $1.50 beer. Take a walk through the new LowellArts building and work up a hunger. When 3:00pm rolls around, the tasting of what Will Rogers called a “bowl of blessedness” will begin. See if you agree with the judges when they declare yet another Chili Cook-Off Champion. Enjoy yet another Lowell tradition with friends at the 15th annual Larkins Reunion.