As I cleared the table, my husband grabbed my hand, looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Babe, I’ve never said this to you before, but…” he paused, looking more than a little pained, “please don’t ever serve anything like that to me again.”
To be fair, he’s right. He has never said anything like that before because he has never had cause to. I’m a pretty damn good cook and even my worst flubs are passable. And to be completely honest, I didn’t exactly “cook” the meal I had just served. We had a friend staying with us for a short time and he had a thing for Skyline Chili – which is a chain of purveyors of Cincinnati-style chili. Which is something that should not be called “chili” and I apologize to all the rest of my friends for using the word “chili” to describe this stuff. It’s not my fault, that’s its name.
Anyway, he had been given cans of this shit and in a fit of some sort, I really don’t know what came over me, I offered to do up the chili as dinner one night.
Hey, I have friends from Ohio. I know how they like this crap.
And so, I reached for a can opener. Yes, I have one. It’s beat up and lives in the back of a drawer for when I need it to open cans of evaporated milk around the holidays. That’s the only time I use it.
I’ve had Cincinnati chili before – it’s not terrible, but it’s not my thing. That night, I served it “four way” – chili, spaghetti, cheese and onions.
All I can say is, Cincinnati chili in general and Skyline Chili in particular, must be an acquired taste – because aside from the friend who was enjoying the nostalgia of it (though even he said it would have been better on a Coney), the rest of us were a little put off by the bowl of brownish-red glop and it didn’t exactly tickle the taste buds either.
Meanwhile, at home, I have promised never to serve anything even remotely resembling that stuff again. If you grew up with it, more power to ya. To the rest of us, it’s baffling. Even President Obama was a bit confused by it, judging from the look on his face.