Hi there boys and girls! This is the Lunch Laddy, Michael Gillan Maxwell bringing you another installment of the Lunch Lady Cookbook. Summer is a fleeting season and it won’t be long before lunch ladies across the nation will be at their posts with healthy heapin’ helpins’ of classic American Lunch Lady AWESOME. But I heard Summer say: “I ain’t dead yet!” and the Lunch Laddy still has a wild card or two to throw down before Labor Day. This installment of the Lunch Lady Cookbook is takin’ it old school. We’re gettin’ our act together and takin’ it on the road. The Lunch Lady Cookbook takes you out to eat at one of the grittiest and noisiest venues for classic American haute cuisine ~ the dirt track races!
The dirt track menu has the venerable, time honored comfort food that is the epicurean cornerstone of county fairs, amusement parks, rodeos, traveling carnivals, the circus and most sporting events. To say that it is a veritable cornucopia of healthy vegan delights would be more than a little white lie. There may be some nitrites, white flour, high fructose corn syrup and a smidgeon of hydrogenated oil in one or two of the offerings, but I’m not altogether sure and I don’t really want to know. This is not the place where one goes to sample whole foods masterpieces, gastronomic innovations, and strokes of gustatory genius. This is not cocktails at Noel Coward’s. We’re wearing tee shirts and ball caps, not silk smoking jackets and ascots. This is the dirt track for God’s sake.
It is here that one may dine on such delicacies as fried dough with powdered sugar, giant pretzels, cotton candy, nachos smothered with melted cheese, pulled pork, Slush Puppies, ice cream cones, french fries with vinegar, sausage, chili, salt potatoes, Texas hots, and of course, the uncontested foundation of all classic cuisine Americana: burgers and dogs! This is not just another Friday night out on the town. This is the mecca of midway concession delights. This is a sacred pilgrimage. Of course, any selection one makes from the menu may be embellished and enhanced with any number of old stalwarts from the condiment trough including yellow mustard and (fancy) ketchup, chopped onions, dill relish, chili relish, sweet relish, powdered sugar, vinegar and a half dozen other gooey, slippery, slimy, gloppy things guaranteed to turn your shirt into a dish towel. Unless, of course, you have the foresight to wear a bib. However, that could turn out to be a tragic fashion choice at a venue like the dirt track races. Let’s not forget that a healthy layer of sand and grime and grit will enhance any selection you have made, especially if you are seated with the Lunch Laddy at Turn 4. Think of it as extra fiber in your diet.
The switchboard is lighting up with callers who just want to know: “Lunch Laddy ~ what did YOU choose for your dirt track dining entree?” I must confess, my mind was already made up before I even left the house. I would settle for nothing less than a hot dog and a beer. The Lunch Lady Cookbook dog was served on a white bun in a cardboard tray and smothered with chopped onions, (Fancy) ketchup, yellow mustard and chili relish. The dog was sublime ~ an insouciant little sausage with just the right amount of nitrites and grease. I could bite it but it didn’t bite back. It would not have been complete unless it was washed down with a cold can of beer. (And then another one, for good measure.)
Beverage pairing: Labatt’s Blue ~ chilled to perfection, drunk from the can.
Music Pairing: Whatever heavy metal tunes that were pulsating from the speakers. All I know is that the guitar tone felt like a bag of hammers being dropped on my head.
As for the races, it was the Lunch Laddy’s first visit so it was like sacrificing a virgin to the volcano. The Lunch Laddy sat just above track level coming out of turn 4 and surrendered himself to the volcanic din of mechanical mayhem, the ambrosia of burning rubber and fuel combustion engine exhaust, the sweet caress of filth and grit massaging his skin and blinding his eyes, the earsplitting shriek and howling maelstrom that is blood sport spectacle for the whole family on a Friday night somewhere in America. What’s not to love?
So, until next time, this is the Lunch Laddy signing off.
Get your motor runnin’!
Arrivederci and Bon Appetit!