Cincinnati Chili Enthusiasts Should Calm The Hell Down

If you happen to live or work within a roughly 300 mile-wide radius around Cincinnati, OH and found yourself wondering yesterday or today where that strange warming heat was coming from, well, it came from here.  See, Deadspin posted an article ostensibly ranking the regional foods of the US from best to worst.  And, well, let’s just say it was, um, less than complimentary in regards to Cincinnati-style chili.

Of course, that’s putting it lightly. What really I mean is that our beloved 3-Ways and cheese coneys were ranked 52nd out of 52, behind an offering from the District of Columbia as well as “being hit by a car.”  Yes, that’s right, according to said article, “Being Hit By A Car” was more preferable than our chili. That’s not the worst of it, either.  I’ll let you read it for all the gritty details, but this quote probably says most everything you really need to know:

“Cincinnati chili is the worst, saddest, most depressing goddamn thing in the world”

As you can imagine, the collective consciousness of the Queen City was instantly sparked to a searing, thermonuclear rage over the assertion. Angry mobs gathered at chili parlors throughout town bearing blazing torches, pitchforks, and noose-shaped ropes as if Dr. Frankenstein had set his ill-conceived monster free to steal our beer and terrorize our livestock, women , and children.

Even as it should be fairly well-known already, it bears mentioning that I am quite a fan of the chili in question. Remember when a few volunteers and I used to go to a different chili place each week and sample the 3-ways?  I mean, you can’t run a series like “3-Way Thursday” and not be a proponent of the stuff.

With that in mind, then, about Deadspin’s Cincinnati Chili-gate, I have only this to say: Please, people, for the love of all things covered in a blanket of melted fluorescent cheese, call the hell down. Put down your pitchforks and stop tweeting angry (or worse, threatening) things to the article’s author. I know you all love some warm, cozy, self-righteous indignation, but for Pete’s sake, drop the lynching gear.

Look, I get it, I do. Everybody wants to have their choices validated in life.  Everyone wants to be right, and you feel obligated to defend your preferences when someone drops a big ball of ick all over them. But, come on, you and I both know that only about the half the people that actually live in Cincinnati get the jonesing for the local meat sauce*.  It should not, then, come as a huge shock when people from The Outside react to the stuff as if it was some kind of toxic byproduct.  Especially considering—and let’s be honest about this—to the unsuspecting, the gastrointestinal distress brought about by said concoction can occasionally be, um, somewhat alarming.

So, why are getting your lederhosen all kinked up over the fact that this one guy would apparently rather have green jell-o with suspended carrots than a 3-Way?  After all, it’s okay if we don’t all like the same things.  Hell, I’d rather have that nasty sounding green jell-o than sour cream or ranch dressing, and that doesn’t make me a communist terrorist. And besides, do we know anything about this guy or his tastes, anyway? The dude may think Lean Pockets are the height of man’s culinary achievements.  Who knows.

More importantly, who the hell cares.

At the end of the day, we’re talking about one man’s personal freaking preference.  If there’s anything in the world more pointless to debate, I have yet to figure out what that might be.  The only thing you’re accomplishing with your smoking hot, atmospheric reentry-level rage is the stockpiling of more page views for Deadspin, which will do nothing but reinforce the idea that poking the people of Cincinnati with an occasional stick is good for ad revenue, and thus the bottom line.

What I’m saying is, let it go. Put down the bait, walk away from the troll’s trap, and try not to freak just because someone from somewhere else doesn’t like what you like. Instead, go get yourself a pat of goetta and a cheese coney.

Trust me, it’d be time better spent than wailing and gnashing your teeth on the internets.

There are, after all, real things in the world to get indignant over.


*Look, we can call it chili all we want, but let’s be honest, it’s a meat sauce. I’m pretty sure it does not now, nor ever did, contain any chilies. Which means it has more in common with bolognese sauce than it does chili. And if you asked me, I think if we called it something else people would be a lot more open-minded about it. In my experience, often times, the first thing people who don’t like it will say after trying it is that it’s nothing like what chili ought to be.