Unlike other big cities — even other big midwestern cities — Cincinnati people talk about their high schools.
Whereas people at an Indianapolis party may ask, “What side of town did you grow up on?,” and people from Louisville might question, “How close did you grow up to the river?,” Cincinnati people refer to alma maters.
“Where did you go to high school?”
It’s an unusual question to ask someone you’ve just met a party, but here in the Queen City it’s fairly commonplace. A conversation can skip ahead a few levels if you know the person went to Sycamore, or Withrow, or Wyoming.
That said, we have learned that certain catering dishes tend to correspond to graduates of the various high schools in the 513. Which dishes do these grads rave about the most? Here are a few.
Aiken High School: Traditional Lasagna.
Whether it’s the handmade meat sauce, or the delicate three-cheese mix — ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella — those Aiken grads go wild for the lasagna. Just like Garfield. Members of the Aiken Marching Band are especially keen on it, as it turns out.
Colerain High School: Antipasti Party Tray
Down on Cheviot Road, those Colerain Cardinals enjoy a good party too, but for them it’s all about the Italian spices. Olives, mozzarella, provolone, marinated vegetables, and world-class salami. Buon appetito!
Deer Park High School: Grilled Salmon Entrée
The grilled salmon comes with an option of four different preparation styles, and it’s all the rage around Dillonvale Plaza. Piccata, Marsala, Pesto, and Southwestern provide those Deer Park Falcons with all of the lift their wings call for. As for why they aren’t the Deer Park Bucks or the Deer Park Deer, we will never know.
Lakota High School: Simply Mac & Cheese
Apparently it’s the Bechamel. We don’t know what the draw is among Lakotans to that Bechamel sauce, but they flip for it. They cannot get enough of this satisfying, heartwarming, traditional bake.
Madeira High School: Vegetarian Lasagna.
It’s a kinship with Aiken, but on the more animal- and eco-friendly side. That combo of spinach and mushrooms really drives them wild all the way down Euclid, Miami, and Dawson.
McNicholas (Archbishop McNicholas) High School: Greek Pasta
It’s got spaghetti, but it’s Greek! Kalamata olives, bell pepper, Feta cheese, olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes. But with SPAGHETTI. It’s the best. Down on Beechmont Avenue, it’s at the heart of every big pre-game lunch. Rockets Rockets!
SCPA (School for Creative and Performing Arts): Seasonal Crudite Party Tray
Nothing says Party Tray like a Simply Grand Party Tray, because a Simply Grand Party Tray don’t stop. That’s what they say between rehearsals at SCPA. Let’s get this party started, with a big side of ranch dip and a mouthwatering array of fresh local vegetables.
Walnut Hills High School: Box Lunch Fandango
Each Walnut Hills students marches to his or her own drum machine, and the same goes for luncheon picks. With the box lunch variety, they can each opt for their own — tuna, turkey, veggie delight, roast beef, TBR wrap, TAB (oooh that TAB), club, and much more.
Winton Woods High School: Penne Primavera
Those Winton Woods kids care about good health, but they also love to dig into some hearty fresh pasta. The seasonal roasted vegetables from Simply Grand’s penne primavera has just the right amount of flavor to keep them fully fueled.
The above is a fictional story. But who knows, it could very well be completely accurate.