Saturday, 28 June 2008


The states are falling, the temperature is dropping and the weather is turning.

Left St Joseph or "St Jo" if you are in the know as I am. Wow, I am practically an American citizen. So steeped in its lore. I explained to the desk clerk (you know the correct pronunciation) as I checked out that the "faucet in the tub" was dripping. As I did so yet another TV ad was extolling the virtues of "3 a day".

The Americans are across the idea of "5 a day" for fruit and veg. It is just that the "3 a day" campaign is sponsored by the dairy industry. The 3 consist of "milk, yoghurt and cheese". So Mom, make sure your kid has enough calcium for growing bones and with all that cheese can clog his or her arteries too. This meshes neatly with the ads for "the health screening programme....they saved my life" and "Caduet - blood pressure and cholesterol medicine combined in one pill".

North seemed another good idea as it looks like I am heading for the Canadian border. Missed breakfast yet again so was getting rather peckish and somehow none of the regular outlets seemed enticing. Yesterday I had visited Baums and had chilli and fries and iced tea for breakfast which seemed a pretty good way to start the day.

I think we do give our American friends rather a rough time when it comes to food.
It is not all huge portions and fast food rubbish. Cooked correctly with good ingredients, burgers are terrific. Not sure how U.S cuisine developed.

Was it a result of the ethnic melting pot that makes up this great nation, or in the early settlers’ days they had to eat what they found or killed? After all, when they arrived there were something like 60 million buffalo and in a few short years they had whittled this number down to round about 1000, so I was told. They must have been pretty damn hungry!

So if you are out in the woods living off the land and its going to be the same everyday - buffalo presumably until they ran out - you are going to want to leaven the diet slightly. The only way to do this is to add whatever is to hand. This may explain the fact if you order bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast, they will add a slice of orange to the plate. Or if you forego the toast and opt for pancakes you will get maple syrup.

The salad bar had an interesting selection of stuff at a truckstop recently. As you would expect, it had tomatoes, lettuce & onion. It had a selection of dressings. (I got fed up with the list the waitress would have to go through so I always say "ranch" when asked. No idea what it is but it tastes pretty good.) It also had raw mushrooms, croutons which I can understand but jelly?? How anyone would want that with a salad I have no idea. Also the whole idea of eating what you have means that if you want a steak you can have it cooked in a normal way or because they may have a few critters left over you can have it "chicken fried". This could be a good parlour or car journey game; "Create the American dish" . Just think of a food and add something totally bizarre.

"Enjoying your Buffalo, Sir? Perhaps a side order of axelotl and emu fries?" Incidentally I passed an emu farm and they make soap out of them somehow apparently.

All this talk of food. By the time I got to Braddyville in Iowa I was starving so turned off and found "Dolly’s cafe...smiles are free". This was my first ever introduction to the "I opened the door and the conversation stopped" kind of place. I took my seat at the counter and ordered the special "meat loaf, green beans, mashed potato, gravy (not grey sludge but proper brown, gravy fans) and a side of pasta and a roll and butter". Plus iced water and a bottomless cup of coffee regular, not decaff. I chowed down very aware of the silence. Not a lot of smiles going on, I thought. When I had finished I paid up and having elicited nothing in the way of smiles I sauntered back to the car. As I was reversing out of the parking lot I noticed a sign on the unit next door. We are not talking separate buildings here. "City Morgue body drop off. No parking"

Soylent Green anyone?


Matthew Rudd said...

Maybe they were waiting for you to smile first...?

DMC said...

Looking at the way you are going, you will soon be entering "Laverne and Shirley" territory...

"5,6,7,8.... "

Laura said...

Of course, Alex, Chicken Fried refers to the method. Meaning fried with the same sort of crust you find on fried chicken.

I know, makes no sense.

WisGal said...

Dark Lord,

Congrats on making it to the Midwest! Glad to see you're not afraid of a little water after all! Check out Wisconsin while you're at it...we have great micro breweries!

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