Monday, November 10, 2008

My Town Monday: How to Eat Chili Dogs

Today, I'm writing about My Town of Origin. I grew up in Cincinnati where chili is so well loved, there are restaurants where they serve only Cincinnati Chili. If you've never had it, well, you've not yet lived. It is rumored that the recipe arrived with Greek immigrants and is as much a secret as that for Coca-Cola. Still, families try to approximate the seasonings, to make it at home, especially if you no longer live in Cincinnati and can't run to Skyline or Gold Star for the real thing.

It can be eaten several ways: as a bowl of chili, over spaghetti topped with cheese and/or onions, or on top of a hot dog for a chili dog with cheese. Not having grown up with Skyline Chili, my poor culturally deprived family tries to eat chili dogs straight on. That is, they hold the dog perpendicular to their mouth, causing them to get cheese on or up their noses as demonstrated below by Lauren.

Even though they have cheese on their faces, they seem to ridicule my obviously well-honed technique for bringing the chili dog in obliquely to the corner of my mouth, leaving my nostrils free of cheese. Here, Lauren tries to approximate my technique, but obviously, I have some more coaching to do. Too much head turning in the photo below. Obviously going to get cheese up the old schnoz.

You'd think I'd get a little respect, having eaten these all my life, but nooooo, it's just too much fun to poke at the old lady.

Other interesting (or not) facts:

The restaurants are called "chili parlors".
My dad once lived over one. Said the smell of chili cooking in the morning was nauseating.
Chili spaghetti is served with oyster crackers. I remember in high school that "wise guys" would sit down and ask for just an order of crackers (or cheese) to fluster the waitress. Those kind of guys annoyed me. Grow up, already, I thought.
You can now get Skyline Chili frozen and in a can.
Cincinnati Chili contains cinnamon.

Visit my town by making chili without ever leaving your home!


Packsaddle said...

Sheesh, now you're telling everybody how to eat chili dogs?


May your children one day rise up and revolt against your totalitarianism by reaching across the table for some mashed potatoes.

Travis Erwin said...

You kow that down here in texas they mock the Cincinatti style of chili as being for sissies and yankees.

I don't particulalry like chili so I can't way in on the debate myself.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Always wondered what it was. We have Coney's, which are much like chili dogs.

Junosmom said...

Pack and Travis: Pile-on! Like my own family can't ridicule me enough.

Pattinase: Yes, we call them coneys too. I forgot to include that terminology.

gmatthai said...

Where did the name "Coney Island" come from? How come the weenies are so small? Dadgmatthai

debra said...

I've made chili with cinnamon, cumin and cocoa. But I use veggie burger stuff---not a meat eater.
My aunt and uncle are from Cincinnati. I've had your mighty fine chili before, and I am well acquainted with how to eat a chili dog sans cheese up or on the nose :-)

pita-woman said...

I can honestly say I've never eaten a chili-dog. For that matter, never eaten a corndog.
Only if I'm really desparate will I eat a hotdog, and only then if it's plain.
As for the chili, well, I have to continue to cook mine with stew meat if I want to be able to consume it. Just can't handle the ground beef.

whitetr6 said...

I like the 3-way much better than the coneys myself. Skyline's one of the only places I don't feel silly wearing a bib at lunchtime, since there are a bunch of other business types with nice dress shirts doing the same. Ahh Cincinnati :-)

Barbara Martin said...

This is news to me as I've never seen a chili dog. Great photographic demonstrations on how to eat them.

lyzzydee said...

I have never heard of a chilli dog!!!!

Junosmom said...

Ah, I can see I left out HOW to make a chili dog: Hot dog on a bun, topped with chili, topped with onions and then finely shredded cheese. And yes, Pack, I am now telling people how to make them as well. I enjoy power.

Junosmom said...

Dad: I think you should write about Coney Island. It now only exists (as it was in its heyday) in your memory.

Debra: Well will you email my family and tell them I am right?
ps I've made this recipe with lentils before and it was very good.

PITA - can you eat ground turkey? That works, or lentils.

Hi Barbara - you must try them!

Lyzzeedee: I just visited my dad in Cincinnati and passed a chili parlor where you could by them by the "crate" (a dozen I think).


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