I still remember Kansas Day in elementary school. We would spend the day coloring pictures of the state flag, meadowlarks, log cabins, bison and Jayhawks. All of these things were the defining symbols of our great state. When I think of Kansas, I don’t think of an imaginary red, white and blue bird. I think of barbecue. We really should have colored pictures of smoked meats and sweet and spicy sauces. I’m starting to think that good barbecue is about the only good gastronomical thing in the state. Going back to Kansas reminds me that I have become a person with particular tastes. Some people might call this snobbishness but those people don’t read this blog, right? I’m particular. Right? Well, during my visit to Kansas City this time, my diet was less than ideal. Less than ideal, in this case, means that I ate vegetables only twice during the visit – twice in 9 days. I will come clean with you – I ate at McDonald’s…A LOT. I counted up my McMeals so that I could write this confessional. I ate two bacon, egg and cheese biscuits with hash browns and large Diet Cokes. I ate one breakfast burrito - cold. I ate two 3 piece chicken selects meals with large fries and large Diet Cokes. I ate one crispy chicken classic sandwich meal which also included large fries and a large Diet Coke. Did I mention that the visit only lasted 9 days? I’m no Morgan Spurlock but I think that shit is BAD for you. It is not surprising that I returned to Minneapolis with the worst case of heartburn and reflux I have had in 10 years. My partner and my children were subjected to a shorter version of this diet and my 16 month old had the foul, oddly colored diarrhea to prove it. The other terrible outcome of our life with Ronald McDonald is that our son, the very son who does not want to eat lunch provided at his camp because there are no vegetables and only white bread, said, “McDonald’s has the best food!” We might have to hire a deprogrammer that can take him to a hotel somewhere and feed him raw vegetables and tofu until he becomes the child he used to be. If this is how mainstream America really eats, then it is no wonder why we can’t compete in the global market.
The food was bad enough but there was also the coffee. I will admit I am a bean-buying, self-grinding snooty coffee drinker. I buy the good stuff a fair amount of the time and buy Starbucks when I can’t seem to make it to Linden Hills to visit the Coffee Guy. In KC, I discovered that the color brown actually has a taste...uh huh, Folgers. I drank Folgers coffee for 9 days. Two cups almost every morning for 9 days and it was definitely not the best part of waking up. One night when we were on the night shift caring for my stepfather, I decided that Folgers probably isn’t really that bad and that the problem was simply that my mother makes weak coffee. So, I used the amount of Folgers that I use when I grind my beans…a tablespoon per cup o’ coffee. If you are wondering if there can be anything worse than Folgers coffee, there is – strong Folgers coffee. When I came back to work on Wednesday, I spent half of the morning in Starbucks caressing and sniffing bags of beans.
Oh, I could go on…the beer, individually wrapped cheese slices, puddin’ cups and Jell-O salads but I am going to head home and have a heapin’ helpin’ of green beans and a Summit Pale Ale. Tomorrow morning, I’ll have a great cup of coffee and chant, “There’s no place like home…there’s no place like home…”