Dr. Know guides a confused coney lover through the potential pitfalls of ordering one of our local delicacies: the cheese coney with (or without) onion and mustard in this question from the July 2012 issue.
I don’t like mustard but I love chili. Every time I order three cheese coneys NO MUSTARD, the server says, “Do you want onions?” Aren’t onions standard on a coney? If I didn’t want onions would I not have said NO ONIONS? Is this a Greek conspiracy to raise my blood pressure? A ploy to save onions to send to Greece to bolster the Euro or the Drachma or whatever currency is in crisis? The Doctor’s insight would be most welcome.—A Cry From the Mustard-Free ZoneDear Anguished Eater:Three? You order three cheese coneys? For yourself? Awesome. The Doctor’s habit is to order one cheese coney as a prelude to his five-way, but he has never had the nerve to binge on nothing but coneys. (And at this point it is probably courteous to those befuddled newcomers to our isolated but proud city-state who are reading this in their unfamiliar dentist’s office, wondering what in God’s name these chilivores are so anxious about, to explain that a cheese coney is a small but perfectly formed wiener nestled into an equally diminutive, pillow-soft bun, lying under a blanket of chocolate- and cumin-flavored beef slurry and a sprinkling of chopped, sinus-clearing, pre-Vidalia onions and a cloud of micro-planed American cheese substance.) The Doctor believes you are wrong to hold the mustard, but knows that you will probably continue to commit that error even though it is as grave as (if much rarer than) turning down the onions. You are, of course, quite right about onions being standard. But you are apparently unaware of the municipal fear of spiciness, a neurosis arising from the unusually high percentage of German-Irish blended families. Most such unions include a pre-nup in which both sides agree to abandon the use of any ethno-centered flavor-enhancers in anything they cook, leaving them terrified of onions and garlic and willing to live on a diet with all the allure of stuff that comes through a feeding tube at the assisted-care facility. (There is, oddly, a cinnamon-cumin-beef-slurry exception built into most of those pre-nups.) At any rate, the courteous chili parlor attendants know from decades of experience that most of their spice-shy customers fear offending their fellow citizens with a little onion breath, so they invariably take a pass on the fragrant and nourishing vegetable. Their loss.
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