Six sliders and an order of fries

March 30, 2011

Green Brook, NJ

I haven’t read Dante Alghieri’s “Inferno” since college, so I don’t remember if he imagined a circle of hell reserved for folks who introduce their grandchildren to White Castle.  If so, I hope he was wrong, but it’s too late now. We’ve already done it.

I’m not sure if this factor mitigates our guilt or makes it worse, but the fact is that we took the boys to the White Castle in Green Brook at the suggestion of our daughter, their mother, who – of course – also learned about the mystique of the slider from us.
So did her three siblings, and an interesting point about that is that our three oldest children, all of whom are particular about what they eat, still love White Castle, while the youngest one — who is more casual about diet when she eats at all — describes White Castle hamburgers as “rat meat.”
I can’t put into words the attraction that White Castle has for us, and I guess the fact that its appeal is elusive makes it  all the more appealing. It certainly isn’t an attraction to fast food in general. I never eat in McDonald’s (except for an Egg McMuffin), Burger King, Arby’s, or Wendy’s. My only other inclination of that kind — if it can be called fast food — is for chili dogs.
Well, the grandsons and their parents were coming to our house for a sleepover recently, and our daughter suggested that we take the boys to White Castle — which was a thinly veiled way of saying that we should take her to White Castle — something I suspect her husband doesn’t approve of. I don’t think the boys were hooked, based on that one visit, but they’re only little guys, so there’s plenty of time. It isn’t that Pat and I spend a lot of time at White Castle, but we get the hankering now and again, and we go with no apologies. Two or three times, we have made reservations — yes, reservations are required — for the Valentine’s Day dinner at the White Castle in South Plainfield. There are red table clothes and flowers, a waiter at your table, and a menu to order from — the same food, of course, or why would we be there?
I mentioned that Pat and I don’t spend a lot of time at White Castle. No, we have salad and a green vegetable with every dinner, we eat a lot of garlic and olive oil, we don’t overdo the red meat , and we would eat fish if either one of us could swallow it. But life is full of hazards and temptations. I started a new job in January, and my drive home takes me right past the White Castle in Green Brook. “You know,” Pat said to me, ” you could stop on your way home.”

4 Responses to “Six sliders and an order of fries”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    I’m conflicted about these White Castles. I’ve been in White Castle territory, but no one told me I should eat one, so I didn’t. Now, I listen to folks from the East Coast pine after them with such eloquence that I WANT one. Unfortunately, they’re not sold in Texas, and the same people tell me boxed White Castles in the grocers’ freezers are an abomination and shouldn’t be eaten.

    In Iowa, I grew up with a concoction called a “Maid-Rite”. It’s basically unseasoned, steamed ground beef on a plain bun. How Midwestern can you get?

    The link is from Taylor’s in Marshalltown, Iowa, about 30 miles from my home town. We always stopped for one after going to the eye doctor – and now that I’ve looked at the link and discovered they ship the darn things… Well, we’ll see how resistant I am.

    My one film star story’s from Marshalltown. One afternoon we walked into the Wolfe Eye Clinic and discovered Jean Seberg in the waiting room. She’d already starred in St. Joan – she was sweet as could be, and I got her autograph. I remember looking at it over and over, until Mom told me to put it away at the Maid-Rite, so I wouldn’t get meat juices on it.

  2. charlespaolino Says:

    I didn’t know anything about Jean Seberg, except that I liked her in “Paint Your Wagon,” so I checked after reading about your experience with her. What a tragic life!

  3. shoreacres Says:

    Tragic, indeed, and a long journey for her from that relatively young woman I met as a child.

    On another, more pleasant matter, I thought you’d get a smile from another little story. My coffee maker bit the dust, so I was forced into the stores this afternoon. While waiting to check out, I noticed Last Chance Harvey on the DVD rack, at the more than reasonable price of $2.50.

    It’s been unwrapped and given a whirl on my PC – what an amazement! Movies in the home! I’m making myself hold off watching until I get my chores done, but it will be fun to see the film after reading your review.

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