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Cincinnati Chili

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Mark R.

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Cincinnati Chili

by Mark R. » Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:10 pm

Can anybody please tell me what I'm missing with "Cincinnati Chili"? I moved to the area several years ago I cannot understand the fascination with it. I've had chili a lot of different places around the country and the local version IMHO is one of the worst. It has less flavor and is not as spicy as most others and then there's the spaghetti in it. To me it actually tastes more like spaghetti (maybe that's why the noodles are in it)!

As a point of reference Skyline Chili opened a shop in Greenville South Carolina where I used to live and it ended up closing since no one liked the Chili.

I know various regions have their own adaptation on many dishes including chili (Texas chili only contains meat, no beans and of course no noodles) and I would like to understand what makes the local version so addictive to everyone.
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Ron Johnson

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by Ron Johnson » Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:51 am

It was never really meant to be "chili". Greek immigrants to the area made savory meat sauce to serve over pasta. It was flavored with cinnamon and other mediterranean/middle eastern spices unfamiliar to the German immigrants of Cincinnati. This concoction was sold from trucks to work sites where mason and constructions workers put up buildings. In order to make the dish more familiar to their customers, the Greek s called it chili, which was the only american dish they could find that also had meat in a savory tomato sauce. Needless to say it caught on big time There are many purveyors of the stuff who trace their recipe back to the original version. Obviously, Skyline and GoldStar are the two big chains, but there are many other places that stayed small and independent. It is an acquired taste, and to be honest I have yet to develop an affinity for it.
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by Daniel Raines » Tue Oct 30, 2007 2:07 pm

Having grown up in the area, I did not like the chili at all as a kid. I still prefer Texas chili any day of the week to the Cincy chili.

But as Ron said, it is best not to look at it as a chili. As I grew older I began to actually like and occasionally crave the "stew" as I may call it but it is not in direct competition with chili IMHO.
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by Ron Johnson » Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:06 am

I tried to like Skyline. I approached with the same attitude as White Castle. No luck. I find it pretty disgusting.

I guess I need to try some of the smaller places like Camp Washington Chili.

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