Human Google Makes Twitter Chili

Slicey Slice

In case you missed it, once upon a time I wrote an article titled, “In Twitter We Trust.” The article, found at The Escapist, basically posits the notion that our circle of trust — which comprises and completes that mystical thing we call “word-of-mouth” — is broadened greatly by use of social media. Further, it puts forth the idea that social media can, in a hive-mindy way, become what I call “Human Google.”

Ask the Twitter hive-mind a question, get an answer.

Try it. It’s good clean fun.

You can ask the hive-mind anything, really. How’s that new movie? How do I spackle a hole in drywall? Pants, or no pants? Why does my right nipple excrete a fluid that could be described as both “buttery” and “Satanic?” Ask a question, get an answer. A perfect system.

The great thing about Human Google is that it offers us something that search engines generally don’t — and maybe can’t: meaningful filter. Google doesn’t know me. It wants to. It thinks that some alchemical combination of data “cookies” defines me, but it doesn’t. What defines me is, in part, my relationships to others. So, when I say to Google, “Hey, Google, what are the essential ingredients for chili?” it returns to me 180,000+ results. And even on the first page, it has my question wrong in spaces — it thinks I’m talking about chili powder, or Thai chilis, or Rozonda Thomas from the defunct R&B girl group, TLC. (Okay, it didn’t really think I was talking about her until the fourth or fifth page.)

On the other hand, when I turn to Twitter and I say, “Hello, excellent humans of Twitter, please bequeath unto me the essential ingredients to chili,” I get a flood of great answers.

What did I learn?

Well, I learned that chili recipes are as individual as the people who make it. I mean, snowflakes don’t have shit on the uniqueness of chili. We’re not talking subtle regional variants. We’re talking straight up different animals. This goes well-beyond the Texas Versus Cincinnati cage match. This goes far past the muddy trenches of beans versus no beans. Ingredients given included, but were not limited to: ground beef, stew beef, steak, short rib, pork, bison, Italian sausage, chicken, chorizo, tomato sauce, tomato paste, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili beans, white beans, black beans, beer, Coca-Cola, Scotch, coffee, Jalapenos, Chipotles, Anaheims, Thai hots, bell peppers, sweet peppers, habaneros, Sriracha, Tabasco sauce, cinnamon, cumin, cilantro, onion, carrots, celery, giardiniera, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, cocoa, melted chocolate, butternut squash, peanut butter, molasses, human souls, and dictators.

I now believe that there may be no more diverse a dish than a bowl of goddamn chili.

Anyway, this is what I put in my chili yesterday: ground round, ground pork, two sweet bell peppers, one yellow onion, two Jalapeno peppers, one can each of kidney beans, pinto beans, white beans, a small can of tomato paste, a medium can of diced tomatoes, a large can of tomato puree, one cup of dark black coffee, a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, two TBs of Worcestershire sauce, two TBs of brown sugar, two bay leaves, a bunch of diced garlic (cooked with the meat), sweet smoky paprika, cumin, chili powder, cocoa chili powder, cayenne, ground pepper, a squirt of Sriracha. Simmer for six hours. At the end of it, top of fresh grated Havarti cheese (all I had on hand, but worked really well) and fresh lime juice.

Let me tell you — and this came from Justin Achilli and others, this suggestion — the lime juice is the fucking kicker, the corker, the game winner. I mean, it totally elevated the flavor profile of this chili. I will never again make chili without that final spurt of lime juice at the finish line.

Great stuff. And crowdsourced in part by the power of Human Google. Computers don’t need to give us the answers. Computers can instead facilitate us giving one another the answers.

That, and really weird porn.


  • Just made a batch of chili on sunday and before I even bought my ingredients I read through a few recipes online for some new ideas to experiment with. I’m a guy of simple tastes and so my chili is pretty standard fare but I do simple well (if I do say so myself.)

    Anyway, I went back and forth on the issue of lime juice and at one point even had a lime in the basket at the grocery but for some reason decided against it, and while the chili I made was good, I knew right away that it was missing something. I have a hunch lime juice would have been just the thing to brighten the flavor (and compliment the cilantro.) Now I know (half the battle anyway right?) and won’t make that mistake again.

    As to your Twitter queries throughout the morning I fall firmly into the chili must have beans camp. Chili is not chili without beans.

  • If I ever go mad, I will eat chili (con carne we call it here in Oz) with every one of those ingredients. At the same time. I think it will complete me.

    Or at least chili with bison. ’cause seriously, it’s bison. Even the name is mouth-wateringly delicious. And if it’s anywhere near as tasty as our native animals, then it’s a definite winner.

    Kangaroo mince makes a rather tasty (and eminently affordable!) chili, for the record.

  • The coffee got me to, and the idea of adding chocolate. Chili is on the cards for dinner tonight.

    We need some sort of Chili ingredient matrix for what works and what doesn’t – anyone know of such a thing?

    I think this is best post you’ve ever created by the way Chuck.

    • The coffee added a very nice complexity — can’t taste the coffee so much as you can taste what the coffee does to the chili, which is darken it up and give it an earthy undertone.

      — c.

  • OH, that sounds so good! If my husband could eat chilis and tolerate coffee, I would SO make your version!

    But you forgot spaghetti. Around these parts, it isn’t chili without spaghetti noodles broken up in it. If you use macaroni noodles instead, it’s Chili Mac.

  • I like my chili slightly sweet. My secret ingredient is a dollop of homemade chokecherry jelly. Chokecherries are incredibly bitter and take a shitload of sugar to sweeten when made into jelly, but the strange flavor of the berry adds a neat finish to the chili.

    A little goes a long way. There are chemicals present in the berry that will metabolize into cyanide once ingested. It’s only a big deal if someone with a very small body mass eats a whole lot of berries, but I think you’d throw up before eating enough to be poisoned.

  • Cinnamon, mon. Try that for a different kick (it actually goes well with chili powder).

    And as a transplanted Cincinnati native for 7 years, spaghetti noodles and chili was lost on this nawtherner. But, then again, so was Hudepohl beer.

  • Simmer 6 hours … don’t know if that was my contribution, but hey that’s what I said at the end of your chili hive-mind experiment. I actually missed when you asked for ingredients.

    I would have suggested Cinnamon as shrtum has. Though it probably would have gotten lost with the other flavors you included. Also some dark northern beans. Some Chipotle.

    No way are you getting fish sauce or carrots near my chili.

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