Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back from Vacation

We took a little vacation down to Columbia, Missouri. It was a fine trip. I finally ate a Sonic burger after all the teaser adds I’ve seen here in Wisconsin, with no Sonic around. Not good -- that’s what I have to say about it. The onion rings were over cooked, and sickeningly sweet. I ordered a cheeseburger with mayonnaise, but what I found in the bag was a dry, tasteless burger with no cheese and little mayonnaise. My wife ordered a hot dog, which looked good, but made her sick. This is why I cook. I want something good to eat.

I like hamburgers. I like the hamburgers that I get at Culver’s here in Wisconsin. I used to love the Locomotive burgers I used to get in Carteret, NJ, the Crystal Beer Parlor in Savannah, GA. I even liked the weird, slaw burgers I got in Korea. The only memory I’ll have of the Sonic burger that I ate is a bad one. The Whopper Junior with cheese that I had a Burger King was a gem in comparison. Hardee’s has a decent line of burgers. Why couldn’t Sonic be as good? I know -- it’s fast food. I don’t buy fast food often, so it’s easy for me to remember the number of times that I’ve had a unsatisfactory experience, which comes to about a third of the time. They just make too many mistakes. This is why I cook. Food is supposed to be good. When I make something I don’t like, I can learn from the experience. When I eat out and the experience leaves much to be desired, my only true recourse is to not spend my money there again, and somehow, that makes the whole thing feel dirty.

The best food that I ate the whole trip was the food that we made. We made this really exceptional pumpkin stuffed with ground beef and spices. I made a good breakfast of hash browned potatoes with scrambled eggs. Columbia has some nice neighborhood grocery stores, but the beer is too expensive -- even the cheap beer isn’t cheap.

We used Google to chart a course that avoids the Interstates. The trip didn’t take any longer, but more than that, it really felt like we were experiencing the countryside. The highlight of the return trip was in Florida, Missouri to see the house where Samuel Clemens was born. Some day I hope to see Hannibal, where one of the world's greatest writers spent his youth.

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