100 lb. Club - Yanking the "Chain"

View Full Version : Yanking the "Chain"

07-23-2004, 12:19 AM
I've recently returned from Kentucky after visiting my sweetie's traitorous sister (she was lured by a sweet-talking southerner into leaving the Great White North forever). We had a wonderful time, even though the heat was extremely oppressive and uncomfortable. I've been to hot places before, such as Mexico (that was on my honeymoon though and I didn't leave the room much seeing as I was fond of the guy at the time), Florida (always in February or March to escape the worst of the Canadian winter, so it wasn't the "hot" season), and Greece (when I was young and could loll around on the rocks covered in oil, basking in the sun in a skimpy swimsuit without having the tops of my thighs rub together and chafe!). Other than the heat though, I thoroughly loved the place.

Two things in particular struck me about Kentucky; first - the cicadas (you know, those big insects that stay dormant underground for 16 years and in the 17th year come to the surface and make a huge racket?) I've never heard anything like that in my life, and I read later that this noise is made during mating (after which they die). Well, all I can say is Kentucky has a particularly amorous strain of cicadas, as the noise was earth shattering and the ground was littered with sexually satisfied insect corpses. I was shocked to see that these creatures are considered a delicacy (deep-fried cicadas were being sold at the county fair!) The other thing that struck me was the people – so friendly, helpful and good natured (even when ignorant Canucks got stuck in the middle of intersections and held up traffic.)

All in all it was a wonderful holiday, well...save for my near death experience during a 4th of July firework celebration. Our host had purchased an impressive array of pyrotechnics and his excitement mounted as it got closer to setting off the "grand finale", which was a firework the size of an oil drum. I sensed a feeling of dread as he lit it with the barbeque starter. Needless to say, it went awry - coloured rockets were whizzing and shooting helter skelter, but mostly towards the deck we were standing on. Nobody was killed, although a rose garden was decimated and the gunpowder residue hasn't yet faded from my leg. Oh yeah, and my b/f hasn't quite forgiven me for instinctively using his youngest child as a shield. Anyway, I digress.

We had left my sweetie's place at 4am while his 3 kids were groggy, hoping they'd sleep at least until we reached the U.S. border. I know what you're thinking - a 10 hour car ride to Kentucky with her b/f's three youngsters? Is she insane? But I thought we had plenty to keep them occupied and content during the journey, after all, the eldest had her laptop, the middle child had her walkman, the "baby" firmly gripped her gameboy and there was a case of CDs (I've now determined that listening to Hilary Duff "sing" is my punishment for a misspent youth). Gee, when my siblings and I were kids we played "I spy" during long trips and counted the different license plates of passing cars. We certainly didn't travel in an air-conditioned car or have a radio with a reception of more than 10 miles! Anyway, as we gently backed down the driveway, the youngest child murmured sleepily "Are we there yet?" - it was a hint of things to come. Not that they were terribly bad, but they were restless, cranky and obnoxious enough that the U.S. immigration officer unquestionably believed me when, upon asking if we had a letter of consent from the mother to take the children out of the country, I chimed up with "Heck, we've got a letter from her BEGGING us to take them out of the country!"

Oh, before I get to the crux of this story (and I promise to, eventually) you should know that I get along extremely well with my b/f's ex, so I don't want you to think I'm slamming her, but I think she took some perverse pleasure in offering to pack a cooler of "snacks" for the journey so the kids wouldn't be whining for shakes and fries at interstate drive-thrus. I was expecting juice, fruit, sandwiches, etc., but to my horror found items such as cherry liquorice and "Chubby" bottles (mini bottles of sugary, fizzy pop). Let's just say there was enough sugar in those items alone to hype these kids to the hilt. Oh yes, there were "granola bars", and I'm sure there was a smidgen of granola mixed in these chocolate coated confections of marshmallows, chocolate chips and graham wafers. Mind you, these kids are not overweight, in fact two of them are distinctly underweight, and I know for a fact that they normally consume good, healthy foods, so I presume this was just a matter of taking vacation "treats" to the limit. I was able to exact my revenge though. At the county fair I ensured that each child received a grotesque tattoo (albeit temporary) that unfortunately didn't fade until after they were presented at their mother's church social. Okay, now I'll proceed with the subject of this thread.

After our safe arrival in Michigan, we decided to stop for breakfast, choosing a chain restaurant which shall remain nameless for the time being (at least until I receive a response to my letter of complaint). One thing I always notice about American restaurants is the low cost and the immense size of the portions! For $4.99 you are served food that fills a platter the size of a garbage can lid and a tub-sized drink with enough ice in it to sink the Titanic. Upon perusing the menu and spying the food on the tables around me, I determined that I would be perfectly satisfied with either a Kid's or Senior's meal, since the "Light" menu didn't really offer anything that seemed very light to me (HUGE muffins, most likely containing 20g of fat, and bagels the size of Fred Flintstone's car tires).

I ordered a Senior's meal which consisted of one egg, a slice of ham and a piece of whole wheat toast. The waitress said "That's for persons over the age of 55". At least she acknowledged I hadn't reached that age. I then ordered a Kid's meal of one egg, an English muffin and one strip of bacon. The waitress then informed me that I'd already ordered Kid's meals for the 3 children at the table. At this point I was biting the inside of my cheek (so much for "the customer is always right"). I insisted "I WANT a kid's meal" (and considered holding my breath until I turned blue). She said "You don't look like you're under 12". I replied "You don't look like you want a tip". I then realized there was no point taking it out on the poor waitress who was just following protocol. I asked to speak to the manager.

I explained my position and he suggested that I could order health conscious "sides", such as a poached egg, cottage cheese, and a box of cereal. I pointed out that ordering a number of sides would cost far more than my b/f's single order of 2 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, 2 sausage links, 3 silver-dollar pancakes, hash browns and toast (yes, he's quite a piglet). I suppose I could have ordered a regular sized breakfast and then not eaten all of it, but why should I pay for more than I want, and anyway, I'm not at that stage where I can push a sausage link or strip of bacon away from me, and why should I have to?? As far as I could see, there was discrimination at work. They cater to children and seniors, yet punish those in-between who want either smaller portions or healthier food by denying them their choice or charging a premium!!

Of course, by this time my b/f and the kids had almost finished their meals and my tummy was grumbling. I arched one eyebrow and succinctly informed him that I had every intention of sending a strongly worded letter to head office as it was and might take it even further unless I immediately got my damn egg, sliver of ham and piece of toast!! He returned my steely glare, then, without his eyes leaving mine, said to the waitress "I believe this woman is 55 - bring her what she wants". Ah, victory (even if it came in the form of a thinly veiled insult).

By no means am I condemning all chain restaurants in the States - in fact, upon leaving Kentucky for home in the early hours, we stopped at a Perkins for breakfast and they catered to our every need. The children's menu was chock full of healthy choices that centred more around fruit options than the usual chocolate chip pancake in the shape of a Disney character topped with whipped cream. I was able to satisfy my need to absolve myself from guilt for having succumbed to the charms of a county fair funnel cake the previous day by ordering from the light menu (cottage cheese, fresh fruit and whole wheat toast) without resorting to aging - although, after more than a week with those kids, I'm sure I could have passed for 55.

My b/f, being the culinary adventurer he is, ordered a homestyle southern breakfast and offered me a taste of his grits. I don't mean to offend, but grits, in my humble opinion, are not fit for human consumption. Also on his plate was a meat called goetta (described as similar to breakfast sausage or scrapple), which I'm sorry to say resembled the premium canned dog food I used to serve up to my pup. I'm sure I'd lose weight in no time if restricted to a diet of grits, goetta and deep fried chicadas!

Well this has dragged on for far longer than intended, so I'll take leave now and will let you know if I hear back from the chain (I expect a missive from no less than the CEO).

Oh, and for my fellow Canucks, I'm still waiting for a response from Tim Horton's to my request for a fat-free, sugar-free Iced Cappuccino, but I expect they'll be playing hockey in **** before that's available.

07-23-2004, 12:40 AM
<sigh> i just LOVED this.. and go ahead.. tell us the name of the chain that was so callous as to age you so precipitously!!!!!

did you find the 'get lucky in kentucky' shirt?? i hope??

glad you're alive and well and at home safe and sound. and i'm with you on the whole grits thing... i just don't get it!!!

07-23-2004, 01:20 AM
I bet I know what chain it was. Their "fit fare" isn't even all that fit. :)

And I LOOOOOVE grits! Yum! Send 'em my way! (You have to eat them with lots of butter and salt.)

07-23-2004, 01:54 AM
I've never had grits before, and although almost everyone I've ever heard from says they are yucky, I still want to try them some day lol. I can't believe that restaurant had such an issue with giving you a seniors/childrens sized portion!
And I would love to see a fat-free iced cap at Timmy's!!

07-23-2004, 02:18 AM
Okay, Jennelle - you figured it out. :s:

By the way, how's this for "fit-fare"? :eek:
Denny's Blueberry Muffin (Breads) 1 each (3 oz) (85.1 gm)
Calories 309
Fat(gms) 14
Carbs(gms) 42

Glad my sweetie rarely indulges in brekkies of this nature or I'd say he's living on borrowed time :fr:
Denny's All American Slam® (Breakfast) 1 serv (15 oz) (425.2 gm)
Calories 1028
Fat(gms) 87
Carbs(gms) 24

Oh Jiffy, I searched everywhere for one of those shirts for you...to no avail ;)

07-23-2004, 02:31 AM
:eek: I'm shocked at that info on the Denny's breakfast! Good LORD!! :lol: Thank god its been so long since I've eaten there! I'll stick with my fruit & yogourt parfait at Mcdonalds thanx! :)

And what the heck are GRITS again?! Up here in Canada they're not so popular, I've never tried them.. but I always hear the word especially on TV.. Can someone please explain ? :lol:

07-23-2004, 04:13 AM
(Celina... I have NO idea. I've heard of them a million times, I think it's like friend pork something, but I don't know. Ask a southerner!:))

Jillegal, I'm glad you had a really great trip! Pop into northern Wisconsin next time! :yes:

I am disgusted about the whole Dennys thing. I'm glad we don't have any of that crap within an hour or two from here. ;)

07-23-2004, 10:22 AM
Jill- as ALWAYS, I enjoy your adventures and truly love your writing!

Thanks for sharing with us!!

07-23-2004, 11:36 AM
Celina - Grits are made from ground hominy, which is basically white corn. You cook them and eat them like you would oatmeal. Some people put butter and salt on them (me), some people put butter and pepper, and some people put butter and sugar. You can also make them with cheese. You can buy instant grits (down my way, anyway!), but the best grits are the non-instant kind.

I think the biggest mistake people who try grits for the first time make is trying to eat them plain. Plain, they're not that great. It's like pancakes - they're 100% better with the condiments.

07-23-2004, 02:26 PM
jennelle... as adorable as you are, there's NO WAY i'm eating grits. and i've tried them with butter, with twice as much cheese as grits, with romano. with EVERYTHING and i'm not trying them anymore!!!!!!!

and jill, honey, the t shirt was for your BF, wasn't it????? i hope???? hmmmm. maybe we'll just have to get one specially made for him..

07-23-2004, 02:28 PM
That's okay, Jiff - grits are a "love 'em or hate 'em" sort of thing. I'm the only one in my house who can stand them. :)

Ivanna B. Skinny
07-23-2004, 02:40 PM
Jillegal, please do not be fooled. Not everyone in the "south" enjoys eating cicadas, grits and goetta! :no: ( Although my Granny does make a mean garlic-cheese grit casserole!) Im really glad you enjoyed your trip down here. Its funny to hear where I live called "the south". I've never really thought of it that way, but I guess it is. If you dont mind me asking, where in KY did you visit? I live in a small hick town called Eminence, about 45 minutes NE of Louisville (pronounced "Looavul" by most of us.)
--Jiffy--- I LIVE here and cant even find that dang shirt! :mad:

07-23-2004, 02:42 PM
Pretty strong words from someone who can stomach fried-green tomatoes Jiffy! :p

Oh yeah, the b/f DID get lucky in Kentucky, he won $100 on a scratch and win lottery ticket (that IS what you were referring to, right?) :devil:

Well Amy Jo, I consider anywhere south of Detroit to be "the south" and I figure when you enter a state and are greeted with a water tower emblazened with "Welcome y'all" then you're in the DEEP south. We were near General Butler State Resort, in Carroll County. On the way, we passed Big Bone Lick State Park :lol:

Inca's Momma
07-23-2004, 03:31 PM
LOL here'sa shirt for ya jiffy! http://www.phatpimpclothing.com/hi/phatpimp/getgettinluckyinkentucky.html

07-23-2004, 04:13 PM
Big Bone Lick :lol: There's a Toad Suck Park in Arkansas.

07-23-2004, 05:08 PM
Anything that needs to be smothered in butter or cheese or sugar to be edible doesn't sound worth eating!

I've never had a problem ordering a child's meal anywhere. Why should they care really? You could have said, never mind, I'll go somewhere else thank-you and then they would have lost your business altogether.

07-23-2004, 06:27 PM
True Jen, but I'm a drama queen always on the lookout for a good story ;)

07-23-2004, 10:38 PM
Put me down as one Northerner who LOVES grits. And I eat it plain when I get some. Which is only when I'm down south, of course, so they're a treat. But then I like cream of wheat and oatmeal too, usually with a little milk on those.

Loved the travelogue, jillegal.

07-23-2004, 10:52 PM
LOL here'sa shirt for ya jiffy! http://www.phatpimpclothing.com/hi/phatpimp/getgettinluckyinkentucky.html

that's EXACTLY the shirt we saw someone wearing in chicago!!!!!

07-23-2004, 10:56 PM
ok.. and more.. toad suck park??? big bone lick??? see why i only rarely go south of the mason dixon line???? <n'awlins excluded of course> oh and texas [san antonio] PAVED a river with concrete.. so i'm doubting the sanity of folks down there..

and anagram. it is possible to buy regular and instant grits in my local grocery store. not that i WOULD. but it IS possible...

07-23-2004, 11:07 PM
I've seen them in some stores here, too, Jif. But then there'd be no mystique - they'd be NORTHERN grits. I just like them served up to me in a southern restaurant. They're probably not even the best grits in the world but don't anybody tell me that. I'll just eat my oatmeal above the M-D line and relish my grits below.

Ivanna B. Skinny
07-24-2004, 09:14 PM
OMG... Butler Park is about 1/2 hour from where I live!BTW...we also have Floyds Knobs! :lol:

07-25-2004, 12:50 AM
Ohh, I love Big Bone Lick park - we stopped there when my husband and I went down south to meet the in-laws - in Mississippi - we talking the SOUTH! I bought a worry stone, so my husband could try to calm down. I got nervous when I took him to meet my folks.

For all you ladies with dirty minds - Big Bone Lick was an Indian site where game came to lick salt, which was also one of the richest open fossil beds in the eastern United States. The first bones of the Jeffersonian mammoth were sent to Thomas Jefferson from Big Bone Lick - and it's said that the deposit was one of the reasons that Jefferson made the Louisiana purchase. Since the Jeffersonian mammoth was the largest elephant species ever found (all larger mammals were related to rhinoceroses), it makes sense that it would be named for the big bones!
So many bones were collected there that the park now has no original bones, and is only a diarama. However, the gift shop sells Sieverware pottery that we now collect, we bought our first piece in the gift shop.

Sorry. hope I didn't bore anyone

Sue - a paleontology and history geek

07-25-2004, 11:48 AM
I live right next to Toad Suck, AR. We have a Toad Suck Daze festival every year. There's games, rides, lots of food, and of course, toad jumping races!! It's great fun and people come from all over the state to attend.


07-26-2004, 05:22 PM
Halfway through the story I KNEW it was Denny's. You don't go to Denny's b/c you want a healthy breakfast, you go there b/c the bars have closed & you want pancakes. ;)

07-26-2004, 07:08 PM
SAPF-- :lol:

While we were in VA, we went to one and waited and waited and waited. Finally got a table, and waited some more. Then we ordered and waited again. After 1.5 hours from entering the building, we left without breakfast (although we did get coffee, thank goodness!) because we had an appointment we had to keep. So I'm not too thrilled about Denny's either.

07-26-2004, 10:18 PM
That sure sounds like my experiences with various Denny's in recent years though we usually get up and leave long before you did, Sheila. I can remember (long ago) when it was a pleasant experience but recently have run into only two I'd recommend - one in Port Orange, FL and one in South Daytona Beach, FL. Our local one is very close but I no longer even try - and would you believe my neighbor says she's never had a problem there? And we have a long horrendous story about one in SC when we were travelling one New Year's Day.

08-02-2004, 12:11 PM

I haven't heard back from Denny's but I did get a response from Tim Hortons to my request for a fat-free, sugar-free "Iced Cappuccino" - which, I admit, I figured was an exercise in futility :write:

The letter started off thanking me for my interest and assuring me that they strive to maintain the quality of their products :blah: .... I got the response by snail mail with a booklet entitled "Nutritional Guide" revealing the calories, fat grams, protein, carbs, sodium, potassium and fibre content of every item on the memo (kudos). PLUS, I got a $10 gift voucher! :cb:

A 10oz. Iced Capp (made with cream) is 230 calories and 11g fat. Actually, as bad as that is, I thought it'd be worse. The letter informed that although they had no plans to create a ff, sf version, did I know that I could request one made with 2% milk (I had no idea!). The difference is impressive, calories drop to 150 and fat to 1.5g. Heck, I'd have no problem spending 3 Weight Watcher points on such a cold, creamy delicious treat (I've been craving a Timmy's Iced Cap since the first hint of summer!) :T

A few surprises:

A carrot whole wheat muffin has 440 calories, 23 gr fat and 52 carbs - the 4g fibre helps a bit...but WOW! :sp: Compare that to a cherry cheese danish at 320 calories and 14g fat or a Boston Cream donut at 220 calories and 5g fat. Even the low-fat blueberry muffin is 300 calories (2g. fat) and 66 carbs! (Not that I'm saying the danish and donut would have greater nutritional value than the muffin. Also, personally, I'm not prepared to use that many WW points on ANY of those items, but I guess the point I'm making is sometimes when you're in a rush and need a quick breakfast or lunch you might think a small carton of skim milk and a low-fat muffin is a decent choice, when it's rather horrendous).

The soups have good numbers, such as Vegetable Beef Barley at 110 cal. 2g fat and 2g fibre (2 WW points); likewise the chili (and I LOVE Timmy's hearty and filling chili - 244 cal., 9g fat and 3g fibre (5 WW points). :hungry:

So, I'm going to Timmys today to pick up a bowl of chili and a 2% Iced Capp for dessert (total 8 WW point lunch or dinner). I'll have enough money left over from my gift certificate to bring home my sweetie his large "double, double" and blueberry fritter - there'll be no jealousy on my part since I'll be sipping on my "Capp"...ahhhhhhh :smug:

08-02-2004, 01:36 PM
Good info on Tim Horton's! I shall keep that in mind when I'm desperately hungry at 2am, heh. As for all this chatter about Denny's and "grits", whats wrong with me?? I've never set foot in a Denny's in my whole life, and have only heard about grits on TV, I feel so uncultured! Not only that, but I heard a mention of Perkins, and I haven't seen that place since I did the big move from Manitoba to BC. I remember driving by a Perkins at age 15 and thinking it was pretty trashy... I've made myself fat with high quality fatty foods, heh. Infact, I think I was 21 before I'd been to Burger King, or Wendy's. Crazy, eh? The small town in BC that I moved to at age 15 had A&W (which I've always disliked, something about getting food poisoning at age 12), and Subway, and that was it for fast food.

08-03-2004, 01:34 PM
Thanks Jill for this info again! :D

I'm still in shock over the Boston Cream... :lol: And I will most likely be going for a 2% Iced Capp this week! Yummy!