The sizzling tale of chili con carne is steeped in as much intrigue as it is in flavor. If you enjoy the rich, spicy, and warming dish, you might have a 17th-century Spanish nun, Sister Mary of Agreda, to thank for the recipe. While the good sister never physically left her convent in Spain, she is said to have embarked on mystical journeys to the New World, in what we now know as Texas.

These ethereal voyages were marked by transatlantic trances where her spirit was believed to engage with the Jumano indigenous tribe. From the rolling plains of the Spanish countryside to the arid deserts of the American Southwest, Sister Mary’s influence was reportedly wide-reaching despite her stationary physical presence.

In her spiritual form, Sister Mary was referred to as ‘La Dama de Azul’, or ‘The Lady in Blue’. Her primary mission during these mystical encounters was to share the Gospel message. But as it turns out, the spiritual exchange was not one-sided.

In return for her spiritual guidance, she allegedly received a native recipe. The dish was a robust stew, composed of venison, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers. A concoction remarkably similar to our beloved chili con carne.

While the elusive written record of the recipe remains unfound, the story of its creation is as rich and captivating as the dish itself. And while we might never know the full truth, one thing is certain – the tale of chili’s creation has a certain spice to it. After all, who’s to say the secret ingredient to your perfect bowl of chili isn’t a pinch of divine inspiration?

Sister Mary of Jesus of Ágreda
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