CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The notion of putting beans in chili has been a sensitive topic as long as competitive cook-offs have been around.
So this year the International Chili Society is saying: Let's do both.
For the first time, the ICS will have traditional red chili and bean-optional chili categories at its 46th world championship event, which returns to Charleston starting Friday.
Chili purists contend beans are nothing more than filler. Proponents say they certainly belong.
Organizers and competitors say adding beans to the competition will do little to quash the debate over using them.
John Jepson of Merced, Calif., won the ICS red chili world title last year. He's entered in both the red chili and homestyle categories this time. He says the debate over beans or no beans will never end.