Coney. Ready for its closeup? A coney, Cincinnati-chili style, is a dog slathered with mustard, swimming in Cincinnati chili, dotted with onion and mounded with freshly grated cheddar. If only it were possible to take a bite out of a photo.
A four-way (hold your laughter) Cincinnati chili platter. Yes, four-ways: 1. Noodles 2. Chili 3. Onion 4. Cheese. Makes perfect sense, no?
Cincinnati chili — and more specifically, Skyline chili — is an acquired taste that quickly becomes an unhealthy addiction. Unhealthy is easy to explain: It’s a meaty chili sauce splashed over spaghetti or a dog with at least 1/4 lb. of cheddar cheese piled on top. Acquired, because most self-respecting Texas-type chili people would not recognize Cincinnati chili as anything of the sort. And since I spent the first part of my childhood in San Diego, the cognitive dissonance of being told I was going to eat chili and being served this was, at first, too much. Chili over noodles? Chili without beans or peppers? What the heck? Why don’t they just all it “weird spaghetti,” I thought.
Fortunately, native-born ‘Natians don’t have to overcome this semantic difficulty. They’re served this stuff in their high chairs (or at least they sample the oyster crackers every chili parlor serves). So they quickly know the joy of ambling up to the counter of a chili parlor and asking for a three-way (I said, no laughing). And ultimately I got over my Cincinnati chili aversion to the point that I actually went through withdrawal when we moved away. It’s hard to come by in any place besides Cincinnati… which, once you’ve gotten the taste, will be hard to fathom. So, I insisted on hunting down some semblance of a recipe and making it. God bless the Internet.
Now my husband has taken that faithful to Skyline (king of chili parlors) recipe and forced it to submit to his will. The result is a spicier, and slightly hotter, concotion that is quite delicious. Although I still splash mine liberally with Tabasco. It’s the secret ingredient to making Cincinnati chili perfect. How some go without is beyond me…
Read on for my husband’s recipe and backgrounder… Read the rest of this entry ?