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The True Meaning of Fast Food

By Michael Sigler | published Saturday, August 24, 2013 |
Thursday Review Contributing Writer

I was born in California, but here in the South, where I now live, NASCAR is almost a religion. Perhaps it is the sound of roaring engines that sets fans’ hearts a-beating, or maybe it is the spectacle of the race. It might even be the food. Nothing says speed like a warm corn dog, and then there’s the popcorn and nachos with cheese to contend with.

It was with these thoughts in mind that my wife and I jumped in my car and headed over to my local car dealership, but not because I needed a new set of tires or an oil change. Though a friend I had heard stories about the special vending machine in the customer waiting lounge, and now it was time to “sample his honors wares,” so to speak.

We pondered our options and I took out a handful of quarters, ready to do battle. Lips smacking with anticipation, I fed them into the slot and it was time to make our choices. In my career as a chef, I have learned that “spice is the variety of life.”

Would it be the bright orange taste of Cheetos, or perhaps the Tom’s Salt & Pepper chips? Tom’s advertised “Bold Package! Great Taste!” which tempted me more than Frito-Lay’s “Dangerously Cheesy.” We were disappointed not to find fried chicken wedges or rib-eye steak chips, so my wife selected the Classic Potato Chips in the “Big Grab” bag.

This particular car dealership takes extra care in the drinks department, and they actually have three different cola choices. I knew that my Salt & Pepper Chips would require some serious slurping (got to rev up those engines!). We enjoyed our tasty meals in the wood paneled lounge in the waiting area. Quibble: the television was very loud.

Our dessert choices were limited, and although they should have offered a tiramisu, or a rhubarb cobbler, only Certs and Junior Mints were available.

Maybe this was an off day for them. My Certs came rolled nicely in a paper wrapper that was great fun to tear into. I used my thumbnail to push them out of the roll, because this joint is definitely a “finger food” place. My wife surprised me by eating a whole box of mints.

Fast cars, fast food, dangerously cheesy entrees, and mints for dessert. Along with the fresh smell of new tires, this gave new meaning to Fast Food.