I don’t want to hate it, but I do

A Cincinnati chili 5-way with onions and beans, pictured, Friday, May 1, 2020, at OTR Chili on Elm Street in Cincinnati.

We do this thing here at The Enquirer that I don’t want to do. It’s a simple, perfectly reasonable thing, but I’ve been avoiding it now for months.

My boss would like me to write a short “get-to-know-you” column, in which I’d explain why I became a journalist, why I’m in Cincinnati and what I like most about being here.

Many of my colleagues already have done this and their columns turned out great. Readers got to see them for the first time not just as journalists, but as fellow Cincinnatians, as part of the community.

But I have a problem they don’t: I hate the most Cincinnati thing there is.

I hate Cincinnati chili.

What this means, I think, is I may never truly belong here. Sure, I’ve raised kids on the West Side. I proposed to my wife at the overlook at Immaculata Church. I know Delhi is pronounced “Dell-high,” no matter what Siri says. The chili, though? That feels insurmountable.

I’ve tried to like Cincinnati chili. Really, I have. I’m not a native, but I’ve lived in this town longer than I’ve lived anywhere. I want to fit in, to be accepted, even if it means eating chocolate tomato sauce over spaghetti smothered in orange cheese and raw onions while pretending it all adds up to something that can legally, ethically and morally be called “chili.”

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