That's Soooo Cincinnati

Food for Thought

Dec 17, 2003 at 2:06 pm

What's the ultimate Cincinnati foodstuff? Skyline Chili might be the automatic answer. Or Graeter's french pot ice cream, Montgomery Inn ribs, Grippo's potato chips and LaRosa's pizza.

Cincinnati is known for any number of culinary innovations, actually. Due largely to the city's pork packaging and brewing heritage, the West side is the home of "city chicken" (pork cubes on a stick), plus there's "Cincinnati oysters" (a slang term for pickled pig's feet) and a "Cinci," 1880s slang for a short glass of beer.

Hudy Delight, Little Kings and Christian Moerlein aren't the only classic liquid imbibements from the past. A favorite soda 'round here is Ale-8-One, a homegrown drink from down Kentucky way.

A dish of Arnold's greek spaghetti might compete for honors. Or an Izzy's corned beef sandwich. Perhaps we could even award the McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich the prize. One of our more fascinating contributions to the national culinary scene came courtesy of a Mickey D franchise owner, Lou Groen, who created the sandwich back in 1963 at his North Bend neighborhood golden arches to satisfy an overwhelming demand by his customers during Lent. The rest is McHistory.

But reflecting on Cincinnati's unique Teutonic roots, perhaps goetta truly wins the prize. As scrapple is to Philadelphia, goetta is to Cincinnati. For the uninitiated, the German meat product is a combination of pinhead oatmeal, pork, beef and seasonings. Glier's Goetta Co. is the planet's largest producer, selling nearly 1 million pounds a year.

Each June at Goettafest, we celebrate all things goetta. "There's nothing like goetta anywhere in the world," says Artie Kidwell, chairman of the fest. The foodstuff "is totally unique to Greater Cincinnati and just one particular area of Germany, up in its northeast quadrant."

Sausage from Porkopolis. That's soooo Cincinnati.

THAT'S SOOOO CINCINNATI highlights the area's quirky assets, hidden gems, unique personalities and criminal secrets — and reprises one of the most popular features in CityBeat's 10-year history.