Is chili a soup, a stew, or its own category? Inquiring minds want to know. Wikipedia says it’s a stew and “Judge” John Hodgman also ruled in favor of stew. An informal friend and Facebook poll shows that most of the people I know are in favor of chili being its own category.

Everyone seems to be in agreement though that it isn’t soup, but guess where you find it on most menus? In the soup section, probably because there is no stew category on most menus.

This goes to the deeper question, is a stew a soup? Some people consider stew to be a “hearty soup” but some of the key differences between soup and stew aren’t just the thickness or liquidity, but also the cooking time.

Stews are slow-cooked, while soups can be made quite quickly and don’t necessarily have to be cooked at all. It is a linguistic puzzle. Any thoughts?

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