June 4-5 Nebraska State Chili Cook-off River City Star, 151 Freedom Park Rd 11:30 a.m., FREE, $5 if you want to actually try the chili, rivercitystar.com, 402.342.7827 Maybe it’s apocryphal, but someone once told me (or I read it in either National Geographic or Reader’s Digest or something like that) that chili was originally made in Texas as a way to make starting-to-rot meat into something semi-edible. So aside from like, “Oz” and Shawshank Redemption, here’s something else we can possible thank the prison-industrial system for — the Sisyphean task of creating the best or spiciest chili, something we’ve all, at one point, tried to do. The winner of this competition doesn’t get a case of Steel Reserve from their friends, though. No, they get to go on to the World Champion Chili Cook-off, though come to think of it, how much competition can there be in the world for an ultra-American (or at least Tex-Mex) dish? Regardless of origin, chili is delicious, delicious prison gruel. 

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