Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Regional Report: Cincinnati

"Regional Report: Cincinnati" by Ellen Brown, Good Food Magazine (September 1986).

In our last post we traveled to 1976 - touring Cincinnati's lively citizenry, urbane culture, and of course, culinary leanings.

Today we'll take a shorter visit through town, a decade later.  The midwest in a clash between 19th-century footings and 80's opulence - maintaining both "grazing yuppies" and "Teutonic tradition" - as you'll see in this scant review on Cincinnati flavors for Good Food Magazine.

There are some interesting quotes that seem to transcend the ages...

"Decades have passed and skyscrapers have transformed the skyline, yet Cincinnati has not only weathered the change but thrived on it, with a unique blend of 19th-century architecture, Southern graciousness, and a magnificent natural setting on the banks of the Ohio River."

"...Further proof of the city's strong German heritage can be found any Saturday morning in the open-air Findlay Market, built in 1852. BMWs and Mercedes vie for parking spots with pickup trucks, and everyone searches for bargains on produce, farm-fresh eggs, and more."

...and a few that don't:

"Grazing yuppies love The Diner of Sycamore (...) and its homemade potato chips."

"...But most Cincinnatians don't care if every corner of other cities boasts a sushi bar.  That's too trendy.  What they look for is consistency and food as solid as a German burgher."


VisuaLingual said...

I love that you keep digging up and sharing this old stuff, but I have to counter a couple of the observations.

In my opinion, Findlay Market, and Cincinnati in general, could stand to be more overtly German. There are not many options for either German groceries or restaurants. I just visited Cleveland for the first time and was struck by all the distinct restaurants, including some German ones.

Two, there are still plenty of grazing yuppies and, while they're not at The Diner, they seem happy about the recent crop of trendy food options, including sushi. I'm sure there's still an audience for simpler fare, but Cincinnati is definitely playing the foodie trend game nowadays.

Quimbob said...

There were more German places in the 80s. I remember a place in College Hill & a place on North Bend.
I don't remember the foodie thing back then - at least not like it is today. The trend to vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, blah blah kinda kills most German food.
Clevo actually had Polish TV on cable back in the 80s. I remember talking to an old guy up there who bemoaned the loss of Polish delis back then. He got teary eyed over kielbasa.

Matt said...

@Visualingual: Being of mainly German descent, I couldn't agree more about maintaining and expanding upon the once overwhelming German influence here. Unfortunately, the real change started after the war - even simple things like street names were lost.

And yeah, I was saying that those last two quotes don't transcend the ages, because specifically (1) the diner on Sycamore has had a hard time keeping its doors open for anyone over the last few decades, and (2) Cincinnatians do increasingly care if there are sushi bars on every corner (or a trendy equivalent). Obviously not a bad thing, but popular culture and experimentation is definitely surging against traditional rooted behavior in Cincinnati.

"...teary eyed over kielbasa." haha

VisuaLingual said...

You might think that getting teary-eyed over Polish food but, after all the hype surrounding the West Side Market,, I was really disappointed to find pierogi in silly flavors like BBQ chicken. I might have gotten a bit choked up.

Matt said...

@ Visualingual: It just sparked a visualization that was kind of funny to me, but you're right - food is important, and I too get nostalgic and teary-eyed over plenty of things I wish were still around (ref. Every blog post on Cincinnati Revisited).

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