When I was a kid the words fast and food never were used together in a sentence. Some form of the phrase usually came from your Mom warning you to “Slow down, you’re eating too fast, chew your food don’t inhale it.”
Fine dining. 3 squares a day meant whatever your Mother put in front of you, and you better like it too, because “There are people starving in China!” you know? What ever that meant? Thank goodness Mom was a great cook.
Unlike today, going out to eat was a rare treat. McDonalds? that was some burger place on the West coast and there were none to be seen where I lived. A drive thru window? Oh yea that’s what you do at a bank right?
Well this is not a story on how we’re all doomed to grow up and become our parents. “When I was your age…” Na, I think the main difference between my childhood, then, and growing up in today’s world is expecting Total Convenience, or Instant Satisfaction. But in reality there’s very little of both.
Back then we had one car, most of the time Dad used it to go to get to work, Mom only borrowed it when needed. She worked at home, and when she needed a break from me, regularly, she dropped me off at the library for afternoon book reading listening sessions. It was great fun especially because the library was directly across the street from a White Castle. Usually on Fridays, when she came to collect me, I would beg her to bring home some White Castle for dinner. My nagging usually worked and I got to carry the bag on our mile walk back to our apartment. You see exercise and cheap food went hand and hand back then. “Buy ‘Em By The Sack!”
Well enough about me. But as you might imaging the mystique of Mc D’s from that far off land called California was a reality not to land on the East coast for many years.
But a new burger place had just opened on Rt 46 in Little Falls NJ. Goodie’s! our new East Coast burger palace. Finally! Park your car, walk to the window and order, then stare through the glass to watch as people prepared your food to order right before you eyes.
Goodie’s was a treat maybe once or twice a month, unlike today’s fast food drive thru glom burger gorge.
Every time I see cars lined up with people craving their fix. I want to yell out “You actually are waiting for this stuff? Don’t do it, Run! Save Yourselves!”
I digress and apologize.
My story is intended to talk about convenient fun food from back in the day and the restaurants long gone. But I couldn’t finish my rant without mentioning some places and food items that are long gone or evolved for better or worse. Heres are a few of my favs.
Goodie’s. Great burgers and the fries were exceptional! A whole Russet potato was placed lengthwise in a hand operated slicer that cut them into long square potato rods keeping skins on the ends and the sides of the outer cuts too. A remarkable culinary innovation since I only knew the crinkle cut version. Goodie’s, gone now only a memory but a lasting one.
Carrol’s. The Carrol’s “Club Burger” is still one of my favorite burgers, or was it a sandwich? I can still taste one in my mind. Alas, Carrol’s is gone but never forgotten.
Roy Rogers, The Double R burger, was a long gone lost gem. The buns were buttered and grilled with a slice of Virginia ham on top, freakin great! Roy’s was a place I flipped burgers while in college and my main source of sustenance.
Hardie’s, remember the Husky Jr. ? A smaller double cheese burger flame grilled. An early competitor the the Big Mac, and in most cases, a much better choice.
Burger King, or as we called it “Burger Thing”. The Whopper Jr. and the Whaler fish sandwich. Do you remember when you really could “Have it your way!”
I know there’s a ton of fun foods and places I have left out, not to mention hot dog and pizza joints. I’ll leave those items for another tale.
In closing, food experiences from our past still remain fresh in memories and maybe have influenced our lives consciously or subconsciously. I ask, has the evolution of todays grab-and-go, drive thru fast food injection changed the shear joy of a once in a while occasional treat? Yep, perhaps.
Eat, Think, Remember, and please always Enjoy!
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