Quiet Mother’s Day

Is there any place where the food is less healthy? I’m not talking ingredients. Cracker Barrel’s weakness is their style of cooking, from an earlier era before we knew some foods could actually kill you!

Stef spent the weekend with us at home. I always laugh when I walk by her room and see her door closed and her lights off at midnight… or earlier. She is nocturnal, like me. This is a very early bedtime. I think she sees home as some form of rehab.

Today was Mother’s Day – time for Stef to get back on campus.

First, we went out for breakfast. Our Mother’s Day plans had changed a number of times, so our choices (on the busiest restaurant day of the year) were limited. We went to “Cracker Barrel,” partially because it’s our inside family joke and partially because it taste’s good.

Is there any place where the food is less healthy? I’m not talking ingredients. Cracker Barrel’s weakness is their style of cooking, from an earlier era before we knew some foods could actually kill you!

Bacon, ham, sausage, eggs… are my arteries hardening yet… grits, biscuits, potatoes. More than a few patrons had bodies which reflected a long running disregard for nutrition.

We had a long wait, which was to be expected today. Quite honestly, Cracker Barrel did an excellent job in handling this crowd. They had free coffee and other beverages, plus small biscuits and muffins.

A hostess wrote our order, so we could just hand it to our waitress as we sat down… an hour after we arrived.

Sin is always tasty. Damn you Cracker Barrel!

The trip to college was uneventful. Sure, our timing for traffic was pretty good, but I attribute a lot of it to E-ZPass. Or maybe I’m missing the bigger picture. Helaine was quick to point out the cost of fuel as we drove by the Turnpike’s service areas. Did I see less traffic because of $4/gal gas?

Helaine and I return to being empty nesters for another few days. Stef is back beginning this Thursday.

She turns 21. She has an internship. This will be an interesting summer.

The Cracker Barrel Experience

Helaine was away this past weekend, at concerts in Illinois and Indiana. She and her friend Renata put a few hundred miles on a rental car out of Chicago.

As they drove through the countryside (certainly beyond the edge of civilization) they looked for a spot to eat. Somehow, early in the trip, they ended up at Cracker Barrel.

For the uninitiated (and until an hour ago, that included me) Cracker Barrel is a chain of absolutely identical kitschy restaurants with a country flavor. In the Disneyworld tradition, the only way in or out is through a gift shop!

Helaine ate her first meal and immediately picked up the cellphone. The food was so good… and unhealthy. It was fried and gravied and breaded beyond belief. It was yummy.

On her quick weekend trip she paid three visits to Cracker Barrel! Thank heavens she took a cholesterol test the week before she went.

As you might imagine, Helaine was anxious to get me to share the experience (and, selfishly, return for dinner herself). Tonight was our night, because as it turns out, there’s a Cracker Barrel in Milford just off the Turnpike.

Somehow we had gone through 21 years in Connecticut without seeing more than this restaurant’s sign, sitting high above the Interstate. We had directions, but even then it was a little anti-intuitive. You really had to know where you were going.

We turned into the parking lot, driving past the sign showing buses and RVs where to park. As we walked in, Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” was playing on the ceiling mounted speakers. A group from “Christian Tours” was lining up to pay and leave.

We were escorted to the back room. In the Midwest, this room was a smoking section. Not so in polite New England, where smoking is prohibited pretty much everywhere… certainly everywhere food is served.

Helaine ordered the “Chicken Fried Chicken” and I had an egg and meat platter. I know it’s sacreligous there, but I am still watching my weight.

While waiting, we played a little game, left on the table, with a rectangular piece of wood and plastic golf tees stuffed in holes. The object of the game was to do better than either of us did!

The food came quickly and was pretty good. My eggs arrived with whole wheat toast which allegedly has only 7 net grams of carbohydrates. Helaine’s chicken came with some sort of gooey, sugary, baked apple concoction and gravy thick enough to caulk a bathtub.

Overhead classic country played continuously.

We finished, got up and began to leave. As we did, the table to our side all let out, “Hi Geoff.” Ratted out again!

Dinner for the two of us was around $20 including the rectangular golf tee game Helaine bought to take home.

I suppose if I made the suggestion, Helaine would go back tomorrow night too.