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Wed Jan 11, 2017, 09:25 AM

Writing about food: Roger Welsch, "Diggin' In & Piggin' Out, The Truth About Food and Men"

"When we were teaching colleagues, Vic Lane and I used to take our lunches together at a drive-in food place ... called the Tastee Inn. There's no other way to say it: the food was dreadful. The onion chips were greasy, the malts were tasteless, and a Tastee sandwich -- a kind of loose-meat burger -- is for all the world more like papier mache than beef. But the place was where we ate, and the food was what we ate when we were there. ... And we liked it because of how the place was run: the service was as bad as the food. During a particularly memorable week, Vic and I pulled into the Tastee Inn and ordered our lunches at the little microphone set up at the end of the drive. I ordered a Tastee sandwich, chocolate malt, and fries; Vic ordered a fish sandwich, large diet Coke, and onion chips, double dip. When we pulled up to the pick-up window, I got my bag -- Tastee, malt, fries -- and Vic got his -- a cup of chili, two chili dogs, and a lemonade. As we paid, Vic mentioned that this wasn't exactly, or even close to, what he'd ordered ... .

"The next day ... I ordered two chili dogs, potato salad, and medium Dr Pepper; Vic ordered two Tastees, onion chips, and a cup of coffee. When we pulled up to the window, I got my bag -- dogs, salad, Pepper, and Vic got his -- a fish sandwich, three french fries, and a lemonade. This time he complained a bit more forcefully. ... Third day, same thing. I got exactly what I wanted, Vic got not a single thing he had asked for. He snapped. He pushed the bag back through the window and said that this time he would like to have what he wanted to have when he had placed his order only moments before ... The elderly lady inside the window snatched the sack from his hands, leaned out the window and into his face, and snarled, 'What's the matter with you anyway, Mister? You never get your order right.' And from that moment on the Tastee Inn occupied a special place in our hearts."

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