Monday, January 7, 2008

A Reluctant Acknowledgement of Southern Ohio Cuisine

I've been campaigning for Foodgoat to make Cincinnati chili ever since we saw Anthony Bourdain have a unpleasant-looking, probably worse-tasting, chain store plateful of the stuff on the Cleveland episode of No Reservations. But although his particular dish and the restaurant he go it from didn't look all that good, the theory behind Cincinnati chili seemed pretty sound to me. Pasta = good. Chili = good. Cheese = good.

Ergo, we should make our own.

And then it showed up on the Saveur 100! We must have some now!

Of course, Foodgoat's version is slightly different from the traditional version of Cincinnati chili. For one thing, instead of spaghetti, we used rigatoni. And our chili was thicker and spicier, rather than the thinner version laced with Mediterranean spices like cinnamon, cocoa, cumin, and allspice.

We had a pile of cheddar on top (making it a three way chili; with just pasta and chili it's a two-way chili), but we could have also added chopped onions as well (four way chili). Kidney beans would make it a five way chili, but since we had kidney beans already in the chili, I'm not really sure what number assignment to give it.

Despite of, or maybe because of, these deviations, Cincinnati chili turned out to be very filling, and very tasty - an excellent way to use the leftover chili.


  1. That Saveur 100 contained several things we had just been talking about-- the Cincinnati chili and the turkish delight candy bar, for starters.

  2. Anonymous12:07 AM

    Neat, reader- friendly, ultra- yummy blog. I like it :)

  3. My dad is an ex-Cincy boy and he wanted me to let you know how much you're missing out on the real thing. Next time anyone you know is headed to Ohio, as them to pick up a couple of packages of the spice mixture && use spaghetti (although we use a lot less water than is suggested). It will blow this out of the water guaranteed.

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  5. I know I didn't make the official Cincy-Chili, but I thought I did a great job mixing my taste with the Southern OHIO dish.

    Rigatoni does a much better job at holding in the sauce than spaghetti and my chili spice mixture varies depending on how I feel.

    Overall- this dish was fun and great way to add another life to chili nights.

    As for true Cincinnati dish: I am still to angry at that city to make their official version.

  6. This is the second Cinci Chili blog post I've seen in the last couple days, it looks good to me, I'm going to have to try it.

  7. As the son of a former Buckeye, nothing can quite top Skyline chili, followed by a fine cup of Graeter's ice cream. Cincinnati has a lot of surprising culinary wonders to behold, the aforementioned two being chief among them.


  8. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Your chili sounds quite nice. Cincinnati-style chili, however, is putrid. I'm really sorry; I don't mean to offend any Cincinnati residents, but the stuff is foul. I tried it at three different restaurants while in Cincy -- and tried it three-way, four-way and five-way -- and just couldn't stomach it, try as I might. It was like sweet, watery meat sauce. Blech.

    I guess you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take the love of real, spicy, thick Texas chili out of the girl.

  9. Anonymous3:32 PM

    As another texpatriate living in Ohio, I must agree with K - what you get in Ohio is NOT chili. It is tomato soup with ground beef and beans.

    Chili = good, yes. Pasta = good, yes. Cheese = good, yes. Chili and cheese = good. Pasta and cheese = good.

    Chili and Give me a honkin' big bowl of think, spicy chili, topped with cheese and served with a hunk o' cornbread any day. Now THAT'S good eatin'.

  10. I am a Cleveland Girl who married some from CInciny. I would suggest Price HIll Chili. It was the original.