Fast Food


Bread – that this house may never know hunger
Salt – that life may always have flavor.
Wine – that joy and prosperity may reign forever.
—  It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Let’s talk food. Specifically fast food. Though I typically don’t, I’ve been eating a lot of it lately. Holiday travel necessitates relaxation of all rules. (Not to mention, I knew when I started that I’d be taking December off from my diet to make it possible for others to live with me).

There’s a great deal of bread and salt (two of my favorite ingredients) in the typical fast food meal. Not enough wine, I suppose, and I would need to go to Europe to find a Micky D’s with beer, but, I digress. The truth is that I hate the stuff. All the salt in the world won’t help if there is no flavor to bring out.

The hamburger patties come in two basic varieties: thin-dry and greasy-thick. There are variations and amalgamations, such as greasy-thin and crumbly-thick. But I like my burgers flavorful. Neither grease nor sauce can substitute for appropriately used seasonings.

When at all possible, I order grilled chicken. But these restaurants usually serve rubber chicken that might as well be in a teapot and a skit. Besides, even more than burgers, fast food chicken has no flavor. Again, grease and sauce are not substitutes.

When we were in Cincinnati, we ate at Skyline Chili, a family favorite. We even got Caroline to have a three way. (It’s different in Cincinnati.) It tasted divine; I love cinnamon laced Cincy-Chili. But oh the nausea! It must have been two parts garlic to one part grease!

And don’t get me started on the pizzas. I’ve had them too thick, too thin, with too little sauce, with too much sauce, not enough cheese, burned cheese, disgusting toppings (that should have tasted just fine). Enough!

Scott and I have the solution. We want to start our own restaurant. It will be a sit down chain, with wait staff and food fit for adults and kids alike. And right in the middle of the room, there will be a glassed in play area. I don’t see us really doing that. But the day somebody does will be the one we remember how to have a pleasant meal on the road.

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Red Writing HoodI’m linking this one up with the Write on Edge Red Writing Hood Flavor prompt.

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19 thoughts on “Fast Food

  1. We do seem to have lost the thread of the “family” restaurant. It shouldn’t be so hard to go out to an affordable dinner that actually tastes good in a place where kids are welcome. Everyone seems to lament the loss of manners in children (I think this is nonsense, really. Kids are kids. Always have been, always will be.) But I suspect the real issue is that kids aren’t getting to practice their “eating-out” table manners the way we did when we were kids, because there are so few options for dining out. You either grab it at the drive through, or pay through the nose.

    We live in a place that is pretty fantastic for all kinds of dining. But when we travel we notice how much harder it is to find the same kind of options elsewhere. Everything is a chain, nothing is local. Your business idea has legs, though. You should check out the feasibility of a Flatbread franchise. (http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/Home2006.htm) The one near us is packed every night of the week. It’s not the cheapest pizza you’ll ever find, but it may be the best, freshest, most local option you’ll ever encounter. And it is very family/kid friendly. We used to got there as a family when our youngest was still in the car seat with the handle. There’s enough general hubbub that no one is troubled by a squawking youngster and the big clay oven fire is mesmerizing to little ones.

    • Oooo — I’m going to hassle people for a flatbread place now! That looks yummy. With us, it’s totally hit and miss. Both kids are on the autism spectrum, and behaviors can erupt out of nowhere for the younger one. With our daughter, we at least can have a pretty good idea of what’s coming and when. I am grateful for our friends, who are invariably patient and non judgmental. When we were travelling, we got to eat at exactly one sit-down restaurant. Sam was having a sleepy/sensory meltdown and so sat under the table crying for the first ten minutes of the meal, then climbed up and hogged the booth and fell asleep in my lap thereafter. Caroline managed to dump an entire hot chocolate (not burning hot – it was quite cool by the time she upturned it) into her lap. And our friends didn’t bat an eyelash. Even more than I would love to have a restaurant made for our family, I value those friends who don’t mind that my kids are far from perfect dining companions.

      • Sensory stuff can be so hard in restaurants with all the sounds and lights and smells. My kids aren’t on the spectrum, but the are really sensitive to sound and can get overloaded at restaurants. They are seven and ten now, so it tends to take the form of getting really sleepy, so not a big deal, but we have to be aware of it and try to gauge their ability to cope before deciding to go out. It must be so much more complex for you. Good for you for persevering.

        We love food and dining out and have found that we can take our kids to fancier places than we might have thought as long as we go early, order quickly, and don’t linger. The fact that they tend to gravitate to appetizers over entrees keeps the cost down. And it’s nice for the kids to be exposed to different kinds of food. I’ve been surprised at how accommodating most restaurants will be to kids. Again, we live in a place with a big foodie culture, so I think there’s more general excitement about introducing people of all ages to new and interesting foods.

      • We discovered that Sam enjoys flirting with the waitresses at sit down places, and that actually buys us some good behavior. We’ve become unintentionally sexist, hoping to be seated with female wait staff when Sam is in tow, because he acts Soooooo much better if there’s a female to impress.

    • Wouldn’t it be awesome? Real food combined with the play area idea? I swear fast food gets half of the family business it does not because of convenience but because there is something the urchins can do while the parents talk.

  2. I loved how you dropped in the “three way.” That was a great way to introduce that restaurant. How could you not click on that link:~)

    I don’t mind fast food every once in awhile…sometimes I even crave it, but it’s not tasty enough for a steady diet. I agree fast food places offer something that nicer family restaurants don’t take into account — a place for the kids to play.

    In a way, I would think it might be a nice get away for a family with young children, simply because you can feed them, let them play and have some time with each other. Can’t do in a nice restaurant when you have young children, can you?

    So, don’t give up on your fantasy about opening your own family restaurant:~)

    Thanks for sharing this writing.

  3. Pingback: Friday Fluff (On a Sunday) | Jester Queen

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