Food For More Thought

I was recently assaulted by a plate of French fries and gravy.
Well, you asked for it!!
Yes I did!  😀  😀  😎  🌯

On a recent Flash Fiction post about fast food, a reader commented, Canadians take French fries to the next level with gravy on top of them.’

Baby, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

….And then the French-Canadians taught us to put cheese curds or grated mozzarella on it and call it ‘poutine‘– English translation – heart attack in a bowl.  😳  It is now common across Canada.  Most Canadian outlets of American fast-food restaurants serve a version of it.  It’s a cheap, easy way to add protein for people too poor to afford much meat, or where dairy cows are common, but beef isn’t.

Then, there are Chili-fries.  The soupy, spicy meat mixture that is poured on wieners to make chili-dogs, is instead, poured on crisp French-fries.  Also pouring on the cheese sauce used to dip pretzels or nacho chips, makes them chili-cheese fries.  The further addition of sour cream and chopped green onions, peppers, and/or salsa, makes them Nacho fries, or All-Dressed.

A DIY version of this can be achieved at Wendy’s, by ordering a plate of fries, a cup of their chili, and asking for a container of the sour cream that they serve with their baked potatoes.

Newfoundland is Canada’s island, easternmost Province, separated from reality the rest of the country.  The population is known to be…. rustic.  😕  Someone(s) down there piled some leftover turkey-stuffing on top of fries and gravy, and created ‘Newfie Fries.’

Jobs are scarce on Newfoundland.  The young have spread themselves all across Canada seeking employment.  There are more Newfies in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada’s oil capital, than are left in the province.  ‘Newfie Fries’, which can also include cooked peas, can be found wherever there are clots of Newfies.

There are several local chip-wagons – often a small Air-Stream trailer with no wheels – which list all these on the menu.  This includes a brick, stand-alone, drive-in that was once a Dairy Queen outlet.

55 years ago, when I arrived here, drive-ins were ‘the thing.’  There was an A&W Drive-in, well out from downtown, at the corner of what would become a ‘Golden Mile,’ and a north/south artery road.  I did not arrive early enough to see short-skirted waitresses on roller-skates delivering food to the cars.

Over the years, the public shunned drive-ins, and wanted sit-down outlets.  This drive-in disappeared, to become a strip mall, with a Money Mart, a Fed-Ex depot and a lube shop.  Back down the street, first, a McDonalds popped up.

A few years later, Burger King bought the land next door, and went head-to-head – or rather – drive-thru-to-drive-thru.  One day, when I was out with the son, he wanted McDonalds, and I wanted Burger King.  We got his order at Mickey D’s, and he surreptitiously entered Burger King through the drive-thru door, while I walked around, and ordered at the counter.

We thought that we had got away with it, but the manager approached us.  I feared that we would be kicked out, but he was very nice about it.  He said that he knew why we did what we had done, and he appreciated at least a portion of our business, only…. the clearly-marked McDonalds containers.  The cola was carefully poured into a Burger King cup, and the fries now rested on a Burger King tray.  The incriminating evidence was whisked into the garbage.

More years later, Burger King had organizational problems.  Six local outlets shrank to three, losing this nearby one, and completely obliterating one at the edge of the BIG mall at city’s edge, to become the depot for the new street railroad.

A&W bought the property, and opened a sit-down restaurant, directly across the street from where they once had a drive-in, a half a century ago.  Around the corner, on the side street, just past the Thai Pho bistro, sits the Canadian, Harvey’s  restaurant, whose parking lot abuts the back of both the McD’s, and the A&W.

It’s a good thing that my paltry Government retirement pension is so measly that it prevents regular patronage to all these all-too-common/handy eating establishments, but I think that it might be the ingestion of all the chemical preservatives over the years that has kept me alive and fit for so long.  If/when COVID disappears, and the border opens up again, I want to test that theory at a Sonic.  There’s one right down the road from Cordelia’s Mom’s.