Link of the Day

I want to recommend this beautiful essay about Waffle House. I’ve been once and didn’t enjoy the food or anything else but there must be something to the place if it inspired such beautiful writing.

7 thoughts on “Link of the Day

  1. Heh. You don’t go to WH for the food! You go because it’s open 24/7/365, and you need somewhere out of the weather to meet up with someone, or just get something to eat when the power’s out at your house, or when you’ve been on the road for five hours already, the kids are cannibalizing each other in the backseat, and you just need to get everybody out of the car for half an hour and not go through a drive-thru. Also a great place for old folks who just need somewhere regular to be so that someone will notice and maybe call for a welfare check if they don’t show up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That would be IHOP that had maple syrup.

        It’s too expensive for Waffle House’s pricing range.

        Like

      1. Around my hometown, WH seems to be one of the primary second-chance employers for people who just got out of jail, or people who are in drug rehab.

        My brother relates that, as a young teen, after a several-weeks-long road-trip with our Dad, running a small carnival ride at state fairs around the midwest, they stopped at a WH, late at night, on their way home, somewhere in Mississippi or Louisiana. A matronly black waitress came over and addressed him in a slow, familiar cadence: “What can I get you, sugar?”

        And in that moment, he had two life-changing revelations: 1) They were finally back home. Still a long, long drive from the house, but… back in the deep south, where random older women you’ve never met smile and call you “sugar”, just like your grandma and all your great-aunts with the horn-rimmed glasses and drawn-on eyebrows did when you were seven. and 2) Being “home” was a tremendous relief! He’d always bought the pop-culture version of “the south” as backward, bigoted, stupid, and uncool in every possible way. But here, in a Waffle House in Mississippi, he realized for the first time that there was something about his much-maligned home region that he’d missed, deeply. Something of value.

        I think he’s been a proud redneck ever since.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Is the chili good today?”

    That has a specific meaning beyond what you think it means.

    It’s not that the chili isn’t ever going to be good.

    It’s whether the chili’s been sitting around, ignored, reheated too many times, and is just passably sellable to people who aren’t very picky.

    If whoever’s serving you will square with you about how long it’s been in the pot, then you might just order it and eat it as-is, with a lot of saltine crackers, or with a huge amount of Tabasco.

    That last bit would be me by default, so I usually don’t ask the question.

    If they still have the chili going, it’s not ready to be thrown out.

    The chili is the secret monitor of whether the Waffle House cares to keep everything ready for whoever decides to show up.

    Gauge what’s going on by the chili, because it’s one of the least frequently ordered items in terms of visitors, and yet a Waffle House could be closed if they don’t make the attempt to serve it on a semi-regular basis because of having a dedicated following.

    If you’re hungry but not that hungry, the waffle sandwich and the chili are a good cheap combo, provided you can eat pork, and they’re best with a thorough dousing with Tabasco.

    Older Waffle Houses may still have Texas Pete green pepper sauce instead of Tabasco, which while I enjoy Panola’s clear hot sauce made with red chiles, I can’t stand that green chile vinegar stuff at all. At those Waffle House locations, you might get lucky that they’ll have Trappey’s hot sauce instead.

    People with specific preferences are better off ordering one of the more pricey sandwiches and customising it ever so slightly to make sure the cook has been paying attention. Grilled onions on a sandwich that doesn’t usually have that usually works.

    It’s the hash browned potatoes that converted me and my British friends to Waffle House breakfast steaks with Tabasco and worcestershire sauce.

    You can get them done in a number of ways, but the best way for me is to get them made with extra butter, cheese, and some of the grilled onions that would go into one of the sandwiches.

    Basically where you’re not tasting the Maillard reactions of the potatoes and onions on the grill, I think there should be a very strong taste of salty butter, and this is considerably better than the miserable triangle potato wedge you get with a typical English breakfast.

    But the worst thing about Waffle House isn’t the food, it’s the corporate management that made going to a Waffle House increasingly worse through 2020 and 2021 because of one-size-fits-all ignorance coming out of the head offices in Norcross, Georgia.

    They also started closing for part of the day, as in they were no longer open 24 hours, with very little warning until you’d go up to the door.

    While driving to places around the US during the evenings and nights, I stopped expecting that Waffle House would be open, instead preferring to grab something at such places as Flying J, TA, and Pilot.

    And so a lot of what this writer has described has been lost in just two years of government-induced misery.

    I wonder if that one Waffle House way out in New Mexico survived.

    Liked by 1 person

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