Cincinnati Chili Mac is a slight twist on the typical 3-Way. Add beans and white onions for a 4-or-5-Way!
By now, my long-time readers know, when the Cincinnati Chili recipes start popping up, it means I’m battling homesickness once again. For someone who wouldn’t touch Cincinnati Chili while living there, I sure act like I’ve loved it since I was a child.
And you would also think that having not lived in Cincinnati since 1997/98, I’d long be over the whole homesickness thing. But no. At least when I was living in Columbus, I could still pop down on weekends and see my parents–At least until my mom and younger sister moved up to Columbus, once my sister graduated high school. Currently, my dad still lives in Cincinnati, but not for much longer (we’re hoping).
My dad’s put his house on the market. It’s bittersweet. I feel silly for struggling to contain my emotions on this, because, again, I haven’t really lived in Cincinnati since my mom took a job in Columbus to be closer to her parents, who were starting to have some health problems. And since I went to college in Columbus, I really moved away in 1994, and only came back for summers. By the time I graduated in 1998, my dad was the only one still in Cincinnati.
But my dad’s been having health problems himself, and rather than try and divide his time between my sisters and me, he’s looking at staying just in Columbus. I don’t blame him. That’s where he grew up, it’s home to him, and he told me once a long time ago, the only reason he remained in Cincinnati after he and my mom divorced was because my sister and I were there. My younger sister and her family are now in Columbus, so there will be someone close to keep an eye on him. While I’d love it if he were to move out here, he jokes he’d never be able to handle the winters. No one seems to believe me when I tell them it only takes one for you to acclimate (though I can’t blame them with as much as I grip about the Season-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named!).
So I’m sad, because it feels like my last connection to my hometown will soon be gone. It’s kind of daft on my part–I’ve got plenty of friends who still live there, and though my family will soon all be in Columbus, there are places and experiences in Cincinnati I still want to share with the bambino. He needs to attend a Reds game. He needs to have some Graeter’s Ice Cream, as well as UDF Ice Cream. He needs to visit Eden Park, the Cincinnati Zoo, and go to the top of the Carew Tower, and hang out at Fountain Square. And I know there’s a LOT more than I’m forgetting. Heck, there’s plenty of things I never visited when I lived there, and I can only imagine how it’s changed in the last 20+ years. And while I know it’ll never happen, I still occasionally try and talk Jay into moving there. I joke that he owes me–His family spent roughly ten years living outside of Detroit when he was a child before moving back to Brookings, and I’ve already been here twelve years!
When I went looking for something different to do with my batch of Cincinnati Chili this time around, I decided Chili Mac might be fun, though it’s not that different from a 3-way. It’s just different pasta, and slightly easier to eat. Plus, it makes for great leftovers!