from the City Beat website: citybeat.com
POSTED ON APRIL 16, 2008:
Living Out Loud
Spreading the Chili Gospel
By Sara Bedinghaus
If there’s one thing people from Cincinnati love, it’s chili. We love eating it, and we love talking about it.
Those of us who have moved away from the area have cans of chili and spice packets mailed to us. When we return home, it’s often the first thing we eat, and then we continue to eat it on a daily basis to hold us over ’til next time.
Another thing we love is making people who aren’t from Cincinnati eat it.
Last summer, I made a decision that many Cincinnatians in their twenties make: to leave town and live somewhere else. Since moving across the country, I’ve forced canned chili upon many of my new friends, only to find that most of them think Cincinnati chili — specifically Skyline — isn’t that big of a deal.
Since most people I know from home seem to have a substance abuse issue when it comes to Skyline, I’m still caught off-guard when someone isn’t elated upon tasting this wildly delicious and comforting dish for the first time.
I recently made Skyline three-ways for my two roommates, one who went to college in Cincinnati and one from Minneapolis. The Minneapolis roommate sat silently while we chiliphiles reminisced about chili days past.
"Did you ever see Alan and Stevo go to the chili eating contests? They used to eat, like, three three-ways and four cheese coneys. It was so awesome!"
"When I worked at Skyline, the old people would bitch about the price of coneys. ‘I remember when cheese coneys were a nickel!’ "
"Oh, this brings back memories. I wish I were drunk right now."
My chili-appreciating friend and I did try to change the subject in order to be inclusive to the Minnesotan, but the conversation kept going back to all the fun times we had stuffing our faces with cheese-covered chili spaghetti and hot dog dishes in the middle of the night. We’ve now begun trying to recreate the experience for those who never had the pleasure of injesting these 1,000-calorie bombs at 3 a.m.
Those of us who prepare the homemade version outside Cincinnati just love watching people eat it for the first time. We get no greater joy than when the chili virgin enjoys the meal, and we enthusiastically embrace their naive questions about the cuisine.
"What is ‘Skyline’?"
Skyline is to chili as Kleenex is to tissue.
"Wait, you put the chili on the noodles?"
Yes! See how exciting this is?
"Where are the beans?"
No, silly, beans are only on four-ways and five-ways. Baby steps.
"That’s a lot of cheese."
Yes, it’s obscene. That’s how you have to do it!
"Do you ever actually feel good after you eat Skyline?"
No, but it doesn’t matter, because it feels so good when you’re chewing it.
"Is there a healthy version of this?"
Of course, they offer the low-carb bowl: two hot dogs in a bowl of chili. Duh!
"Hey, I’m switching planes in Cincinnati on my way to New York."
Eat some chili! They have Gold Star at the airport, and that’s close enough for these purposes. Your unsophisticated chili palette won’t know the difference.
When the chili newbie enjoys our concoction, we feel as though we’ve helped someone reach a heightened level of food enjoyment. To think they’ve come this far without ever passing such beefy gold through their digestive system. A travesty, really.
The same phenomenon of chili gosp,21,379924.113,1,7288,22.214.171.124
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