Politicians seem to be enraptured with our chili, and in this response from the December 2012 issue, Dr. Know explains why.
During this year’s presidential campaign, I noticed that candidates always seem to manage a photo op at a chili parlor when they visit town. How does this happen? Is there some sort of powerful Cincinnati chili lobby in D.C.? —Political Animal Dear Animal:No. There is no powerful Cincinnati chili lobby in D.C. If there were, we might be able to forbid other cities from turning out inaccurate imitations of our Sacred Municipal Food, gastronomic monstrosities based on garbled and occasionally sexually confused interpretations of three-, four-, and five-way. Cincinnati chili would be as strictly protected as Champagne, Roquefort, or Barolo.The reason candidates are motored up to Price Hill or out to Camp Washington to pretend to enjoy eating a food product that clearly baffles them has to do with the yellowed Local Color notes toted by their harried political aides. Those notes get updated regularly for major markets, but Cincinnati’s reputation for immutability seems to obviate the need for up-to-date research. Indeed, there was a time when the chili parlors were political powerhouses, but today’s greater Cincinnatians, if their bulk is any clue, now come together in suburban International Houses of Pancakes just like most of the rest of our growing nation.
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