Fast Food, Slow Writing

Kage Baker was an afficianada of fast food. Especially in the summer, when we travelled.

Not that she preferred it to real, sit-down, use-a-napkin-and-at-least-one-fork-food. She decidedly did not. But she had standards, of quality at least, and did not partake of the commercial offerings that failed the test. Of course, these were her own standards of quality, and Kage was a picky eater. She was picky to the point of mania – mine, if I couldn’t find the one drive-through she was willing to patronize on a given day …

For example, hamburgers had to be round; so, no Wendy’s.  Chopped onions were better than merely sliced; so, Jack Burgers lost out to McDonald’s. Jack in the Box had tacos, though, which won them many contests; on the other hand, McD’s had the best breakfast food. Coca Cola was the only potable cola – no one who carried Pepsi was on her list. Arby’s had rarity value (there aren’t too many of them) as well as a genuine horse radish sauce, so it was always in the top 3 if geographically achievable … and if a drive-through KFC were around, their biscuits were preferable to any other food of any sort or description.

Food on the road was a very serious business with Kage. And we were on the road a lot. The one summer Jack In The Box served panninis was a red-letter season in our car.

So why am I going on about fast food today? Because I ought to be writing my brains out. However, distractions abound. It’s nearly 100 degrees here, there’s no wind, the thunderstorms fizzled and we’ve actually had to turn on the air conditioner for the first time this year.

It’s too hot to garden, or build the new garden gates we need – one of the immediate neighbors is either Rambo or insane, and likes to come into other people’s yards dressed in camo and armed with a Weed Whacker: he decimated the bougainvilla yestreday, so we’re fortifying the back yard perimeter. Kimberly wants to mount broken glass on the top of the wall and install pungee sticks – I’ve persuaded her to build better, lockable gates and post the California Penal Code references for trespassing offenses …

Anyway, it’s too hot to do anything and to distracting to write. I’ve been looking up California Code on trespassing, wall maintenance and tree trimming, working out gate designs and meditating on plot points. And in the middle of all that, Kimberly arrived with the welcome news (and even more welcome proof) that Jack in the Box has a new delight: miniature corn dogs!

So I have been totally derailed by sweet corn bread and tiny greasy sausages. They’d only have been better if they’d been onna stick. So I stuck ’em on one of the little cocktail umbrellas that breed in Kage’s desk, and am now munching happily.

But my brains are melting out my ears like buttered grits. Detailed reminiscence has used up all the wattage I had. No more writing today …  Kage herself would declare it time for silk pajamas, a Pimm’s Cup and some Monkey Island.

For me, (dullard that I am) it’s time for iced coffee, cotton jams and a rousing game of computer Mah Jongg. Stay cool, Dear Readers. And if you must go out, swing by a Jack in the Box: this time of year, they have root beer floats.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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2 Responses to Fast Food, Slow Writing

  1. mizkizzle says:

    Californians are insanely fortunate to have In and Out Burger. We ate there three times in two days when we were college shopping with our son (at his demand) and it was heaven. I recently found out they have a secret menu of special cooked-to-order items. How great is that?
    The best food burger award IMHO goes to a Texas/Louisiana chain called Whataburger. Their burgers beat White Castle’s with a big ol’ stick.
    Kage would probably have spurned Castle burgers because they’re square, man, square. In shape, that is.
    Mickey Ds in Maine serve lobster salad rolls in the summer. They’re okay but they don’t hold a candle to the fresh-caught versions sold at roadside shacks and coastal lobster pounds. It’s a coals-to-Newcastle thing. Lobster is so plentiful in Maine that it is frequently served in college dining halls and it even used to be a regular on the dinner menu at the state prison in Thomaston, much to the inmates’ disgust.
    I picture the cons frowning down at their dinner trays and groaning “Not lobster AGAIN!” Sorta like the “Meatloaf again” scene in Rocky Horror.
    In conclusior, I nominate Waffle House as serving the best fast-food breakfasts. They have raisin bread toast with apple butter, grits, and scrambled eggs with cheese. And waffles, divine waffles.


    • Kate says:

      Jill: I’ve heard Whataburgers praised by everyone I know who has been to Texas, and hope to try one some day. And you’re right, In&Outs are grand. Their only drawback is that they are too big and messy for the driver of a car to eat easily – so they are not prime road food, unless you have time to sit down. But they’ll actually make you a burger with as many patties as you ask for, up to and including the 100 X 100 party version. And yes, those are all on the “secret” menu. Good stuff.

      McD’s only gets the nod for breakfast food in the “you can eat it in the car” category. Sit-down restaurants are in another class entirely.

      Re: lobster – servants in New England in the 16th and 17th centuries used to write it into their contracts that lobster could not beserved more than 3 times a week. It’s been poor man’s food until the 20th century!



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