The perfect gift for the Cincinnati foody
Everyone in Cincinnati probably knows about this. These Cincy favorites are obviously great presents for those of us who grew up in Cincinnati, moved away, and still want that hometown flavor.
Please don’t think I’m late to the party on this, I’ve known about these for a while, years. I never wrote about them because offering these faves as a mail order product was so blindingly brilliant, there didn’t seem to be anything to say.
But as I was talking about these with my girlfriend (also from Cincy) about it, and I really starting thinking about them as a phenomenon. Here’s the transcript from our gchat conversation
her: i'm buying my brothers skyline cravers gift baskets
Sent at 1:04 PM on Friday
me: i got one of those from t------ once
they will love
her: heck yeah. i love that these exist
me: my brother orders in ribs most years for the Super Bowl, I think
me: i wonder if other cities have that sort of thing
it seems so unique to cincy
where we have these very unique regional dishes
and lots of people who have moved away
but still want those dishes
i'm sure this is affected by my perspective, as a cincinnatian living away from cincy
me: there must be something about being from cincinnati
i feel like we share that so uniquely with our friends
her: so do i
next time someone from cincy gets married, we should get them a huge cincy gift basket. someone who's from there but not living there
like if j---- and t------- get married
Sent at 1:11 PM on Friday
her: the other cool thing. i just called them.. it's a 800 number but bc its a cincy thing i feel comfortable trying to figure out an easier route... anyway, i called them bc shipping is like $20. I was like, hey I'm from there. Can I just come get it from you direct when I'm home. They were like, sure no prob.
I hope you didn’t mind the poor cut and paste job.
Anyway, why do Cincinnati dishes warrant this? Here’s what I think.
1.) They are so unique, every time I share Montgomery Inn ribs or Skyline with an out-of-towner, it’s preceded by a long disclaimer about what to expect and how it's different taste. And there’s no telling how they’ll react. Over 50% don’t like it, but those who do really like it and get it right away. Don’t try this with Larosa’s though. Only people who’ve grown up with Larosa’s like it, no one else will.
2.) There are many former Cincinnatians out there, and though many of them claim they couldn’t wait to get out, there is some part of them that wishes they never left. This is how they relieve some of that. I’m speaking as someone who’s moved away, and I’m speaking for my age group, which I would call 25-35.
3.) The food’s good. In a straightforward, no-frills, Cincinnati kind of way.
I’m reminded of Portland, a city of similar size, that is known for it’s cuisine. I’ve even heard of one dish that is pretty exclusive to Portland—apparently they love tater tots. They have a dish called totchos—tater tots with nacho toppings.
But I’ve never heard about any restaurant or dish that is native to Portland outside the confines of Portland. Maybe that’s because I’ve been in the Midwest or on the East Coast my whole life. But no one talks about it. I know people talk about Cincinnati food, especially chili, in NYC and Chicago.
Does anyone know if any other city has a cuisine that warrants mail-ordering? I know my perspective is skewed, but I’m thinking that Cincy cuisine is the most loved regional food in the country, by people who no longer live in that region.