Reading thru Robb Walsh’s new book, The Tex-Mex Cookbook, I came across a link between a bowl of Texas red and mid-western chili I didn’t know existed.
"Take spaghetti and chili con carne, mix together in equal portions and you will have one of Mexico’s most popular dishes." So goes a recipe for Chili Mac in the 1920s by Mexene chili powder (Magic Mexene All-Purpose Seasoning) which was apparently produced by Walker’s Austex chili company in Austin.
Beyond that, I didn’t know that many old Mexican restaurants in Texas (what we now call Tex-Mex) had a version of chili mac on the menu for many years, as another way of Americanizing their food. Some still serve it. Walsh cites Larry’s in the Houston suburb of Richmond, where Spaghetti Mexicano is still on the menu. The dish apparently involves spaghetti on top of tamales topped with a rather bland chili gravy, then cheese. Not 5-way, but not a bowl of Texas Red either.
Here’s a link to Walsh’s review of Larry’s, which is mainly known for its enchiladas, from a couple of years ago: