A Birthday Bash and a Big Bashing

Pleasant Ridge Chili 50th AnniversaryConsistent is not the way to describe my news input. I hardly ever read a newspaper anymore. I do occasionally watch some national news on the broadcast networks and some national and international stuff on PBS. I think I watch local morning news fairly often but it’s hardly regular and I guess it can’t really be called often in the way that most of the world defines the word. I’m writing all of this in an effort to establish an excuse for missing a landmark event in a nearby community where I once lived. Despite significant advance coverage by local TV stations and others, it wasn’t until I saw an “after the fact” report that I learned of Pleasant Ridge Chili‘s 50th anniversary.

It was Friday evening when I saw the report on Wednesday’s celebration. I felt embarrassed, of course, and even a little guilty that I not only missed attending but was totally ignorant of the big event. I corrected things as quickly as I could. On Saturday afternoon, I headed to PRC, grabbed a seat at the counter, and ordered a 4-way. In chatting with the waitresses, I realized that missing the big day wasn’t all bad. It had been a madhouse; in a good way, of course. Ninety-nine cent coneys and free baklava had customers lined up “out the door”. Though things had calmed down considerably, it was still extra busy on Saturday and everyone was looking forward to a day off on Sunday. Owner Danny Sideris was one of the people hustling to keep things running smoothly but he sure was happy and I even got to talk with him a little when he would pause near the end of the counter to contemplate his next move. He estimated that about half of the customers were there for the first time and he wanted to make sure their first impression was a good one.

Before I knew of the anniversary, I had determined that nothing blog-worthy was happening this week and scheduled a Trip Pic Peek for the Sunday morning post. I briefly reconsidered this after my Saturday afternoon visit but decided that a post about missing the party would not be very interesting and not worth the effort to put together before bedtime. So, what changed my mind? Actually, nothing changed my mind about the story being interesting. It isn’t and I know it. But, before I fell asleep, I discovered something else I had missed and which made a chili related post almost mandatory. The thing I discovered was posted in October so I’m already really late in reacting. No use waiting another week.

In an unguarded moment, I was led, through some sort of internet baiting, to a blog post titled “The Great American Menu: Foods Of The States, Ranked And Mapped”. The post is here. It is an honest article that declares up front that it is not “scientific”, “researched”, or “fair”. It didn’t take long to realize that the writer was some sort of cyberspace Don Rickles who felt obligated to insult almost every state and edible including those he claimed to like. I never cared much for Rickles but admit that he did occasionally say something funny. Same with the writer and I found myself smiling now and then as I read through the list. As I crossed the halfway point, it occurred to me that he would likely be even more obnoxious with his unscientific, unresearched, and unfair set of losers. I also realized that Ohio had not yet been mentioned and that’s probably what drew me on. As the list moved into the lower fifth, I started fearing that Ohio would pop up around 44 or 48. “Please, Rickles wannabe”, I silently pleaded, “don’t rank Ohio merely near the bottom. We want nothing but the worst.”

My pleas were answered with a tirade that was so far over the top that I suspected the entire list was created just as an introduction for this blast. (It was.) The District of Columbia was included in the list but Ohio did not come in at 51. In addition the the 50 states and DC, the writer inserted “Being Hit By A Car” in front of Ohio for the apparent purpose of moving the state down another notch. Few states got more than a paragraph in the list and many were dismissed with just a few words. Ohio got four paragraphs and over 400 words all targeting Cincinnati Chili. Skyline is the only brand name used but it’s unclear whether that’s the only name he knows or if he has a special grudge against the company. It’s no more clear why the bonus blather for Cincinnati Chili. Maybe a Skyline waitress once saw the guy naked and laughed or maybe he heard a rumor that his conception involved a 3-way and misunderstood. Or maybe southwest Ohio just doesn’t visit deadspin.com enough.

Deadspin is the website where the list appeared. It is described as a sports website with a sarcastic and humorous editorial tone. Add the connection between food lists and sports to things unclear. Perhaps there was a “get more Cincy clicks” directive and the chili bashing was the result. If so, it worked. I visited the deadspin site one more time than I would have otherwise. Hope that’s enough.

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