Redartz: One facet of Bronze Age life (and life today, as well) that loomed large for kids was the phenomenon of Fast Food. Few of us were immune to the appeal of a cheeseburger and french fries, courtesy of Ronald McDonald, the Burger King, or some other purveyor of prefab cuisine. It may have been a weekly family meal. It may have been a trip to get a cone after a ball game. It may even have been an afterschool job (my first real job was flipping burgers at McDonalds). Whatever the origin, most of us have some experience, and hence some memories, of these restaurants.
Most prominent, and most frequently visited by our family, was McDonald's. I couldn't resist those fries. And to this day I've a fondness for the Filet-O-Fish sandwich. Just keep Ronald at a distance, please; clowns can be...discomforting.
One standout memory of McDonald's for me actually stems from my brief period of employment therein. One summer's day I went out with a friend to play tennis all afternoon, foolishly forgetting about any sunscreen. That night I was scheduled to work the grill, and all was fine at first. But as the evening wore on, my sunburn became more and more evident, and painful. It got to the point I was almost feverish standing in front of that grill, so I found some relief by ducking back into the freezer repeatedly until my shift ended. Not a pleasant night.
Another chain that we patronized fairly often was Burger Chef: pretty similar to McD's overall, but with a more local flavor. "Burger Chef and Jeff" were the animated spokesmen who enticed kids to drag their families in for a "Fun Meal". This combo of a sandwich, fries and drink also included a toy, which MeDonald's soon 'borrowed' in the form of the "Happy Meal". One fond memory of Burger Chef is the sight across the midwest of birdhouses in the shape of a Burger Chef store. They can still be seen on occasion, usually with the old logo long faded away. Burger Chef itself faded away in the 1980's, as it was absorbed by Hardee's.
That's two stories from two fast food places. How many more stories await from you, and how many other such restaurants attracted your patronage? Did you go for the big national chains, or prefer smaller local outfits? Who made the best burgers? Who had the worst commercials? Who watered down the Cokes ? It's all to go this week...