Throwback Thursday: The Senate floor chili war of 1974 - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Throwback Thursday: The Senate floor chili war of 1974

In a 1978 October issue of Cincinnati Magazine, readers had access to possibly one of the greatest anecdotes entered into Cincinnati chili lore. (Source: Wikipedia Commons) In a 1978 October issue of Cincinnati Magazine, readers had access to possibly one of the greatest anecdotes entered into Cincinnati chili lore. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

In a 1978 October issue of Cincinnati Magazine, readers had access to possibly one of the greatest anecdotes entered into Cincinnati chili lore.

As the story goes, years before the article ran, U.S. senators from Texas and Arizona got into a Senate-floor squabble over which state had superior chili.

Then-U.S. Senator from Ohio Robert Taft, Jr., grandson of William Howard Taft, is said to have defended his home town a few days later on the Senate floor, declaring Cincinnati the chili capital of the world.

Here's an excerpt from the write-up:

In a letter to the National Press Club, dated March 14, he declared, "The Roman general Cincinnatus, when asked what his troops should be fed before an important battle, was heard to reply, 'Let them eat Cincinnatus [sic] chili.'"

About a month later, a cook-off was held, and Taft didn't show. By this time, New Mexico and Oklahoma had joined the competition.

It's said all of the southwestern-inspired chilis entered at the cookoff were remarkably similar, and though those in attendance liked the Cincinnati chili, they didn't think it it qualified as chili:

"Everybody seemed to like it, but no one thought it was chili. All these crazy Texans were running around drunk, yelling, 'Chili doesn't belong on spaghetti!'"

Taft went on to lose a re-election bid in 1976 by a slim margin.

You can read the full write-up below:

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