While Judy and Steve were dating, Judy wound up in Cincinnati and Steve and Judy frequented Skyline Chili, a chili parlor in Cincinnati. “Cincinnati Chili” is a dish that is native to Cincinnati – it’s a pile of noodles underneath a pile of meat sauce underneath a pile of cheese, underneath a pile of chopped onion. Some people add beans, pure heresy. Steve and Judy struggled to find a good recipe for it for years, this one years and years old, from a lady unknown other than by her first name, Lynne. Note: This dish is really improved if, when you shred the cheese, you actually buy a block of cheese and shred it by hand, rather than the pre-shredded kind. It really makes a difference.


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. In a 4-qt. Dutch oven, combine all the ingredients except the ground beef;
  2. Once the water is heated and at a slow bowl, add the ground beef, shredding it piece by piece by hand – the smaller the clump of beef, the better it will be;
  3. Let simmer for 2-3 hours, skimming the top a bit for fat an impurities (Judy thinks this is not necessary, Steve thinks it’s crucial). Also, from time to time, take the back of a wooden spoon and crush the pieces of the ground beef against the side of the pot so they aren’t too big. One of the recipes that Steve and Judy have come across over the years actually called for an immersion blender but they have since adopted this technique. One of the recipes that Steve and Judy came across over the years actually called for using an immersion blender to chop the meat into small pieces but that ended up being overkill and they have since adopted this technique; and
  4. In a separate pot, get water going. After it begins to boil, add 2 or 3 teaspoons of salt and one pound of spaghetti noodles. Cook until done. Drain. Put one serving of noodles in each of however many bowls you are going to serve. Put plenty of meat sauce on top of the noodles. Put plenty of cheese on top of the meat sauce and plenty of onions on top of the cheese. Mix and eat until you cannot lift your fork.

Note: it is the cinnamon but especially the chocolate that gives this dish its unique, wonderful flavor.

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