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[McD]James

Explain to me what the deal with Skyline Chili is

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Skyline3WayConeyHotSauce).jpg

 

MJF recently got a lot of heat with the audience during AEW Dynamite for insulting Skyline Chilli, and apparently, Skyline Chili is an institution of pride in Cincinnati. I'd never heard of it before, but I was intrigued enough to look into it. From what I've heard people say, if you're from Cincinnati, then you love it, and if you're not, then you hate it. I absolutely love a good chili myself, but putting chili on top of spaghetti just looks bizarre to me. I also love piling a lot of cheese on my chili, but I'm baffled as to why anyone would put that much cheese on their chili. Chili dogs with Sriracha sauce and cheese are amazing, but again, why so much cheese? What exactly is going on here?

 

 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. At the end of the aforementioned episode of AEW Dynamite, hometown hero Jon Moxley got the entire audience to join together in singing the song from the Skyline Chili commercials. The people of Cincinnati sure do love their Skyline Chili, but to me, it looks like a mess that you'd need to be stoned in order to enjoy.

Edited by [McD]James

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As someone with an Italian background I feel obligated to say this is an abomination.

 

But I was thinking, what if you're supposed to just mix the cheese and sauce so it's infused as some sort of mac and cheese deal?

 

I'm obsessed with cheese so I's eat any dish that's over 30% of it.

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1 hour ago, Murdoch said:

Wait ... that's cheese on top?

 

Edited by [McD]James

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23 minutes ago, Murdoch said:

Wait ... that's cheese on top?

Fine shredded cheddar cheese it looks like.

 

This looks absolutely disgusting. For one, I don't really care for pasta in general, I'm not big on carbohydrates and it always gets cold too fast. Two, chili is fine on it's own, but a little bit of cheddar cheese melted into it is tasty. Three, that is like an entire 8oz bag of cheese dropped on top of that, if not more.

 

Chili goes in a bowl, or a small amount on top of a hot dog, or a brat, preferably jalapeno. It does not belong on spaghetti. I mean, I could see this being popular at some out of the way location that only locals know about, and they're all goddamn idiots who feel superior because they like bad food. But to have it be a source of pride? That's unfathomable to me.

 

"Hey, what's the best thing to eat in Cincy?"

"Cold spaghetti, covered in chili, with half a pound of cheese on top."

"I think I'll skip it and drive to Chicago and get their casserole pizza and an entire garden on a hot dog instead."

 

There's really not a whole lot of food culture where I live, at least that I know about. We used to have an amazing little Italian restaurant downtown, but they shut down a few years ago. I never tried their pasta, because I'm not a pasta guy, but their steak, veal, and pork was absolutely amazing. Really great bread as well. They just couldn't make it, the parking is so damn tight, the city started installing stingy parking meters all over the damn place so people stopped going downtown for the most part. And they couldn't compete with the big restaurant across the street that served up a good old fashioned Midwestern American Wankoff replete with cowboy decor, bbq bacon cheeseburgers the size of a baby's head, steaks the size of your bloated liver, and all the beer you could drink.

 

But yeah, chili on spaghetti with half a pound of cheese? I don't get it, it almost makes me sick thinking about it.

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22 minutes ago, Jello said:

Chili goes in a bowl, or a small amount on top of a hot dog, or a brat, preferably jalapeno. It does not belong on spaghetti. I mean, I could see this being popular at some out of the way location that only locals know about, and they're all goddamn idiots who feel superior because they like bad food. But to have it be a source of pride? That's unfathomable to me.

 

Taco-style chili is really good. You basically replace the chili powder with taco seasoning and then use it as a dip for tortilla chips.

 

 

Anyways, this video makes some attempt at explaining why everyone in the midwest* is so obsessed with this place, but I don't feel any less bemused or repulsed. They put this nonsense on baked potatoes, too?! Explain yourselves, Ohio! 

 

*The video title claims that Skyline Chili is a midwest thing, but there are numerous people in the comments from the midwest clarifying that it's exclusively an Ohio thing.

Edited by [McD]James

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38 minutes ago, [McD]James said:

 

Taco-style chili is really good. You basically replace the chili powder with taco seasoning and then use it as a dip for tortilla chips.

 

 

Anyways, this video makes some attempt at explaining why everyone in the midwest* is so obsessed with this place, but I don't feel any less bemused or repulsed. They put this nonsense on baked potatoes, too?! Explain yourselves, Ohio! 

 

*The video title claims that Skyline Chili is a midwest thing, but there are numerous people in the comments from the midwest clarifying that it's exclusively an Ohio thing.

I live in Western South Dakota, which is the tail end of the "Mid-West". And I can assure you, I have never seen something like this, or known anyone who has ever eaten anything like this (well, maybe if they're trying to stretch money 'til payday and this is all that's left in the house). I do have an Uncle that lives in Ohio, not Cincy, but close. But knowing him, I think he would just call bullshit on something like this. Midwesterners are not "crazy" about this. In a small area around Cincinnati, it's possible, but no, we're not crazy about it. My brother lived in Iowa and Michigan, never heard about this.

 

I can't speak for all midwesterners, there's quite a few odd traditional dishes around. Mainly from the northern Europeans that settled here. And of course the Rocky Mountain Oysters thing, but that's more Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado. We really don't have our weird dishes in North/South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas. I don't know, I guess some people just feel like their lives have no meaning if they don't have some really weird signature dish.

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There's even more fucking cheese on it in the video than there is in the picture! I've never eaten chili in my life, and I like my spaghetti just fine without a mountain of Great Value Cheese.

 

I don't know what it is with Americans and cheese. Even the rappers are into it, always talking about "all dat cheddar" they got!

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The chilli on chips with a fuck ton of cheese (as seen in that video) does look good to me, although you would have microwave it for a bit to get that cheese to melt down.

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I don't know why it's called a chili when it's preciously little like chili con carne.

 

Still, I've been aware of it for some time, and I'd like to try to cook some for myself one day, it uses cinnamon and even some cocoa, along with chili powder, and that's a combination which I think could work, savory and spicy with that particular hint of sweet. I tried pork with some cinnamon recently, and it has potential.

That looks like too much cheese, but I understand it's popular to heap on oyster crackers and raw diced onion as well.

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11 hours ago, Chezza said:

As someone with an Italian background I feel obligated to say this is an abomination.

Probably best then for me not to mention how my mum used to serve bolognese on rice...

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My opinion of Cincinnati-style chili changed when I learned it was an invention of Macedonian immigrants adapting their cuisine to a 1920s fast-food diner.

 

I've only had Skyline twice but I enjoy it. I think it's a charming, quirky regional dish.  I have not had Gold Star (the competing chain) since I think it's only found in Cincinnati proper.

 

Calling it "chili" apparently offends people who get way too serious about food. The sauce is not remotely spicy, nor are the beans you can get with it. The raw onions are probably the strongest individual flavor. I've only had it "five-way" which is the maxed-out version with spaghetti, chili, beans, onion, and cheese.

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Skyline/Gold Star are great, though I much prefer cheese coneys over a threeway. A coney dog with chili, cheese, and preferably a little tabasco on top. But, really, it's a Macedonian working-person's bolognese.

 

The chili contains some unusual seasonings like cinnamon and cocoa, from the above-mentioned mediterranean influence. I know for many westerners the idea of those flavors in a savory dish is nauseating (not counting Latin food -- mole, etc.) but I think it's delicious. I have a Moroccan pasta recipe that I make every couple of months involving tomatoes, cumin, cinnamon and toasted almonds. I once drank a beer with a Palestinian woman who told me as a kid she had never conceived of cinnamon OTHER than in a savory dish, and when she got to the US and someone gave her a bite of cinnamon roll, she gagged.

 

The excessive cheese is because working-class cuisine in the USA involves an even higher proportion of flavorless hyperindustrial garbage than in most other countries. Look at horrors like 'Ambrosia Salad' and '7up Salad'. I'd prefer a moderate amount of a sharper cheddar, maybe some minced red onion.

 

I'd take cheese coneys over White Castle ten times out of ten.

 

Oh, and I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Up the road a bit. Only a few Skylines and no Gold Stars there AFAIK.

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5 hours ago, scalliano said:

Probably best then for me not to mention how my mum used to serve bolognese on rice...

Orzo's basically treated like rice anyway so I could see that working.  My family always did a Picadillo-type dish except we called it Picadilli.

As for Skyline, I don't understand the appeal of putting chili on spaghetti, but given the amount of shredded cheese, I could see it working once it all starts melting together.  I usually eat spaghetti with a meat sauce made from marinara, vodka sauce, or alfredo but on rare occasions, I'll do a cheddar-based sauce.  Cheese also pairs well with spicy stuff.  I just wonder how creamy Skyline's chili is.  Maybe it works because there are no beans?

Edit:

@Aaron Blain

Okay, the cinnamon and cocoa probably explain why this works.  Thanks for the insight!

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20 minutes ago, KainXavier said:

As for Skyline, I don't understand the appeal of putting chili on spaghetti, but given the amount of shredded cheese, I could see it working once it all starts melting together.  I usually eat spaghetti with a meat sauce made from marinara, vodka sauce, or alfredo but on rare occasions, I'll do a cheddar-based sauce.  Cheese also pairs well with spicy stuff.  I just wonder how creamy Skyline's chili is.  Maybe it works because there are no beans?

The chili is not very creamy; it's fairly thin. The beef is very finely ground. It probably helps to think of it as a meat sauce instead of a stereotypical chili. Beans are a completely optional condiment that you can add. The "way" system describes what goes on it. The basic "three way" is pasta + chili + cheese, with beans and diced onions being the additions.

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