Eating, Americana style


Props to any reader who can guess the art historical reference I was making in this photograph. Write the artist’s name and painting’s title in the comments.

If I’m ever a New York Times travel correspondent, I want to be called The Quirky Traveler. I do like to try all sorts of local institutions, including the local fast food. A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to old-timey Becker’s Drive-in. It has a reputation for root beer and onion rings.

To those of us who previous generations have labeled Millenials (ie, anyone who doesn’t remember regularly going to drive-in movies or drive-in fast food joints), a drive-in is a restaurant where you park and order over an intercom. A carhop, in this case a teenaged waiter or waitress, serves the food. You eat in the car. You eat in the car. How quintessentially American.

And how quintessentially American is the food: hot dogs, French fries, onion rings, root beer. Okay, I make a way better hot dog (hello, people, ever heard of grilling?). The root beer doesn’t hold a candle to Point. You can get better fries at McDonald’s and my mom’s thin, crispy, jalapeno-laced onion rings are hard to beat. But it’s all for the experience.

I have never lived in a small town before. I admit, I don’t like it. I enjoy nightlife and stepping out my door and having to decide whether to eat Indian, Iranian, East African or Japanese. I love hearing ten different language as I walk through Target. And have I mentioned public transportation? Give me a bus or a subway and I am a happy girl.

But, I have to look at every place I go with a traveler’s eyes, expecting discovery, revelation, to be totally amazed by mundane things. It doesn’t have to be the shape of a dragonfruit or the number of people on a motorbike. It can just be the fact that people still actually eat at drive in restaurants. There is no place that is not worth going at least once; if I thought otherwise, I’d have to call myself The Boring Traveler.

On a similar note, I really admired this post from Girl Unstoppable, one of my all time favorite travel blogs. Check it out. It’s given me a to-do list for when I finally make it to San Francisco.

Note: All these photographs were taken with an iPhone 4S. Two of them (the menues and the food) were taken by my mom, Sydney.



One thought on “Eating, Americana style

  1. Pingback: Millenium Park, Ansel Adams and Reflections « Someone told me there'd be wild things.

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