Roadside food: An appreciation. Or a confession.
I was bad today. Very bad.
In a dietary sense, anyway.
Lately, I’ve been eating fairly healthy stuff. Salads, chick peas, herbal teas. You get the idea. But today, I spent an hour or so at the Red Rooster, a roadside food place on Route 22 in Brewster, while working on an article, and I had to make an exception. I’ll have a cheeseburger, please. No, make it a double cheeseburger. And while that was cooking, the guy behind the counter handed an order to the two women ahead of me, and, looking at it, I had to add French fries to mine.
I washed it down with cola, of course.
As I heaped on the ketchup, I realized that, to me, the bright red gob and the tan of the fries are colors almost as American to me as red, white and blue. (Easy. I said almost.)
So why is it that roadside food never seems to be health food? It would be hard to find a Celery Shack, or Ted’s Seitan House. Tacos, yes. Tofu, not so much.
It’s hard for me to pass Nathan’s in Yonkers without stopping in for the two-dog meal. And lines still form outside Walter’s hot dog stand in Mamaroneck.
And the thing is, I find hamburgers and hot dogs more appealing when I’m driving and want to stop for a while. Something about it just fits. Wiping the grease from your hands with a paper napkin so you can drive without the wheel slipping in your hands.
So what is it about hamburgers, hot dogs and driving that make them so compatible? And what are your favorite roadside places?
Because, I’ll tell you, maybe I was bad (in a dietary sense), but it felt so good.