Soup kitchens, serving up free meals to hungry Americans for nothing?
Jameson notes that in 1862 a rowdy element of the city’s Confederate garrison rioted in Military Plaza and wrecked some food stands.
San Antonio’s chili stands and parlors (the term may derive from these early house-restaurants) seem to have been the great levelers of San Antonio society, where the more raffish members of the aristocracy mingled with the underworld.
(In later years, some of the more famous chili restaurants were located on the fringes of San Antonio’s red light district, but were still patronized by every tier of society.) magazine, noted in 1877 that while rolls, chocolate, and pastry were available in Military Plaza, you had to go to the sort of “hovels” King described to find “Mexican refreshment” that would make you “malodorous for days.” (If she sampled some of this fare, she did not write about it.)“Those who delight in the Mexican luxuries of tamales, chili con came, and enchiladas, can find them here cooked in the open air in the rear of the tables and served by the lineal descendants of the ancient Aztecs,” Jameson quotes Gould as writing.
But chili con carne was already well on its way to conquering the state.Nor did Edward King, author of the 1874 However, King did say that any and all comers were welcome to take spicy meals that sound suspiciously like chili con carne in private homes in Laredito, a slum adjacent to Military Plaza.“[One] has only to enter and demand supper to be instantly served, for the Mexican has learned to take American curiosity about his cookery to account,” he wrote.They always have enough to go around, for no stranger, no matter how terrific a durned fool he is, ever calls for a second dish.
He almost always calls for a big cistern full of water, and you can’t put the water in him fast enough with a steam engine hose.
Chili stands were also common in Galveston and Houston; they were the taco trucks of the 1800s.