Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rebel Breakfast

Around these parts people know how to do breakfast. Breakfast here makes me want to have been born Southern, it makes me so proud. Waffle House is a particulary good iteration of the category restaurant:diner:breakfast. I don't know if its a southern-based chain, but for the most part they have a Southern [perfect] understanding of what should be on a breakfast menu, and how it should be cooked.

1. They give you a sturdy, laminated menu that doubles as a placemat. I am all about multi-functional, and it's nice that they don't presume to tell me when I'm done with the menu. AND, the menu has some pictures of the food, so there's a standard of accountability, and you know up front what you're getting.

2. Coffee. (They even fill up my favorite pint cup.)

3. Carbohydrates with various combinations of sugar, salt, butter and cheese.

4. Eggs any style, with various combinations of salt, butter and cheese.

5. High-fat meat products. Note they have both kinda ham, there. [Country and City.]

On our most recent visit to breakfast heaven, however, I encountered an abomination. A fly in the proverbial grits. Because of their wonderfulness, I am not going to hold it against Waffle House. I am convinced that some marketing reptile dreamed it up and foisted it on franchise managers. To wit:

That is described as a sausage biscuit. (Modeled by The Him). Let me make this clear: THAT IS NOT A SAUSAGE BISCUIT. It may involve something like sausage, and something like a biscuit, but its just NOT RIGHT, at all.

Hillshire smoked sausage links. WRONG
Sausage links of any kind: WRONG
"Grilled" biscuit. WRONG . I don't even know what this means. How can you grill a biscuit? I don't even want to know.
Mayonnaise. SO WRONG.

This is a for-real sausage biscuit.

Note absence of mayonnaise.

Note the correct sausage.

Note lack of "grill" marks.

If your mama loves you, she may get fancy and make you a biscuit with sausage gravy, like this one here. In a pinch you could get away with calling that a sausage biscuit. Note there is no other condiment.
It's a little too glisteny, but this was the best I could find. Sausage gravy is a little bit of heaven, but it's not what you'd call photogenic. Gooogle it. Go on.

Marketing reptiles, you leave my breakfast alone.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Relationship Paradigm #327

Did you know that Jimmy Cagney never actually said, "You dirty rat?" I didn't.

I was about 14 when I discovered, quite by chance, that it was possible to hook a boy's interest by liking the same music he does, and that common interests can backfire.

John Zimmerman and I were sitting in the hall outside the principal's office at the elementary school, which means either that we had come over there from the Jr. High in order to work on some project, like a drama performance, or that this took place much earlier than I first thought and I was actually 10. Entirely possible.

John was humming a tune which I recognized as "Today's Tom Sawyer" and I started singing the lyrics to his accompaniment. He looked up with awe and wonder in his eyes, and said, nearly breathless, "You like Rush?"

One millisecond prior to his question I did not feel any particular attachment to either that band or that boy. But at that moment, the epiphany of social possibility claimed me as surely as Paul's conversion on the Damascus Road.

I said, "Yeah!"

I think I sat up straighter, which was pure instinct but in the near future would become a deliberate tweak to my curb appeal [breasts].

Looking into his shining eyes I knew that I loved Rush more than any other band, and noticed that John was suddenly covered in a shimmery golden haze of delicious cuteness despite the fluorescent lighting.

I went home and listened to more Rush lyrics until I had them memorized. I probably made my brother tape Rush songs from the radio for this purpose.

(At present I can't recall the title or lyrics of any other Rush song.)

Sadly, our love lasted only about a week. I lamented this sad fact when I told my friend Ivy this story, and she said, "Well, hell, when you're 14 that's about as long-term as you can get," which is true, even more so if you're actually 10.

The turning point in our relationship happened while we were walking home from school together. Okay, now I'm sure that I was 10, because we didn't walk that route in Jr. High. Having the same walking-to-school route was another point we had in common, and it's these little things that cement a relationship. Except that on this day, we came upon a dead rat by the side of the road. It had announced it's presence blocks away, naturally, so we had followed our noses with growing dread and anticipation. We found it.

In a moment of ignorance and distraction, I made the fatal mistake: I did not get shrieky. I did not cry, or hold my nose, or make throwing up noises.

Instead, I picked up a stick at the same moment he did, and poked at the rat.

He didn't notice right away, but at some point it registered and he looked at me. He said nothing at the time. Being a novice I did not understand the import of That Look. Within a couple of days I discovered that it meant I had crossed over the line of acceptable common interests with my beloved.

I am still in awe of the haiku-like perfection of a relationship arc that begins with Rush and ends in a dead rat.

And "Today's Tom Sawyer" still makes me smile and get a bit misty.

[Note: The Him is Mr. Literal-and-factual and is the sort of guy who memorizes liner notes. He is raining all over my memory parade. Today's Tom Sawyer was released in 1981, which doesn't coincide with my memory of chronology. So I was 16 rather than 14 or 10, still within the realm of possibility given my level of relational cluelessness. Unless the song was not Tom Sawyer. But it was definetely a Rush song. I think. I hate it when he does this.]