Friday, January 27, 2012

Promises are Made to be Eaten

I have a tactic that gets me through the tough times on long, tough rides. It's one of the tools that I pull out about two-thirds of the way through the ride, when my spirits sink and I need that classic carrot on a stick ... incentive to continue to pull the overloaded cart that my ass has become. And "carrot" is an apt allegory, because the thing that drives me to the ride's completion is often food. Glorious food.

Of course, a real carrot would not do. I can honestly say that nothing that still qualifies as a vegetable has been enough to make me finish a ride. I do love me some french fries, but those are about as much a vegetable as ketchup is (and the ironic thing about that episode is that the tomato is a fruit).

No, for any honestly epic ride, I am a junkie for junk foods.

On hot rides, I scream for ice cream ... although ice cream only acts as the foundation. Two scoops served over brownies, with slices of banana and pineapple, and liberal doses of chocolate and caramel sauce poured on top. Oh, and some nuts ... and maybe I can put some crushed Butterfinger pieces on top. Ooh, whip cream!

On triple-digit temperature days, that's the kind of carrot that will get you home.

When it's cooler I am craving pizza. I actually designed a permanent route to start and end from downtown Franklin, TN, just so I could easily get to the Mellow Mushroom there. I start planning my toppings around Snow Creek Road at mile 100, fantasizing about spicy sausage and onions ... or maybe ham and pineapple.

Lately, however, I've been going straight to the gutter -- a restaurant that makes few, if any, presumptions of haute cuisine. Man Food for Real Men.


Now, you were probably thinking Hardee's or McDonald's, but Puddy of Seinfeld fame liked Arby's, and Puddy was definitely a Man's Man.

About mile 100 this past Saturday, I promised myself Arby's. I don't break promises, especially when I make them to someone as important to me as I am, so I quickly got cleaned up and loaded up after the ride, pulled out the GPS, and looked up the nearest one.

It was not particularly "near." I had to get on the Turnpike, go south 20 miles, get off the turnpike (and pay a toll), and then drive three miles west to get to an Arby's. But, a promise is a promise.

When I finally got there, my needs were fulfilled. Two Beef 'n Cheddars: Thin slices of (what I can only assume is, and frankly don't care if it is not) roast beef and thick orange gooey cheese product served on a mass-produced bun that makes no pretense of artisanal bakery and such frivolities as "taste." The bun is merely the delivery system for the twin bombs Beef and Cheddar, much like a Titan rocket for an ICBM.

And Arby's Sauce -- a spicy sweet tomato-based concoction that brings out the best tastes of the Beef and the Cheddar. For years, Arby's placed large bottles of this sauce on all of the tables, so you could slather it on your food with abandon. They've cut that back, now, so that you have to dispense your own sauce into little paper cups. Tedious, true, but not nearly as difficult as opening a whole slew of those little foil packets that Taco Bell uses to make their condiments inaccessible.

For two Beef 'n Cheddars, I need nine little cups of Arby's Sauce. The cups must be moderately full, too -- don't just give it one shot from the squirty dispenser, but take care to fill to the brim. Also, make sure that you get 12 paper napkins.

You're then ready to begin ...
  1. Open the sandwich, pour half of a cup of Sauce inside, close it, and take a bite. This initial bite creates a valley into which you can then pour the next layer of Sauce.
  2. Apply sauce and bite. Make sure that you are leaning over the table, since if you are really applying enough sauce then it is going to drip on your fingers and chin.
  3. Wipe your fingers and chin after every other bite. Again, if you're doing this right then a napkin will only last for two wipes, tops. The last bite will be particularly messy ... but it is so worth it since all of the gooey cheesy goodness is now properly saturated with Sauce.
Inevitably, I make little mouth noises while eating my Beef 'n Cheddars. Yes, it's often kind of slurpy sounds, but there's also a lot of "Mmmm..." going on. It rarely bothers anybody sitting more than two booths away.

I ate both of my Beef 'n Cheddars, but could only finish half of my Curly Fries. I refilled my drink for the long drive back to Naples, and headed out to my car. My hunger had again been appeased, and I felt as I would explode in rapturous rupture.

I felt like a happy tick. Mmmm ...

1 comment:

  1. I've been there and tried that. But, thanks to my gastric-by-pass, I've already hurled 1/3 of the way to the finish line. So after 30-60 min in their REST ROOM. I have just another reminder that yes you do so dearly love your junk food BUT now it no longer loves you...nope not at all.
    Afterwards, I resume walking and in time jogging.Then suddenly, Oh My God, 1/2 way home I get hit, hit hard, with the Hersey Squirts. "Crap", now I've got to find another latrine and QUICKLY. That, or I have to buy some more jeans. But at least they are in a size 8 and not a size 5x, which is the biggest size you can buy in ladies pants; 67" waist & they are hard as hell to find [I am only 64 1/2" tall, I could say something about letting my ass overload my shoulders but that's not my butt measurement but that of my waist, I have no idea what my butt measured]. Anyway, everytime I pass a Whopper, Taco Bell, Arby's or a tricky Micky Dee's, I remember that hour I will spend in their "fresh" ladies room. Also, I remember that even some cheap jeans cost $25.00,then you have to wait in line with a roll of T.P.rolled up and tucked between your legs in "dirty" pants. The other waiting customers must think I own stock in Avon fragrances. The one I use is very purposely pungent. Then there is the problem-where to change---another fast food resturant? They are going to love me. The dirty jeans? Depends-how dirty are they? Too much? Can them! Salvagable? Wrap them up but tightly!!
    Oh, old habits die hard, and if they do they do so very, very slowly, I believe some habits never die. As for the fast foods, the odors are intoxicating, the imagery my mind creates is superbly decadent. The desire seems to engulf all of my thoughts and here lies an addiction as strong and real as one for any drug, alcohol or gambling. Do you get the idea? I start to salivate and my lustful stomach starts to sing, even hurt a little.
    Then I remember, I can now walk over 20+ miles a day and I am not winded nor am I tired. I have the b/p and pulse rate of an athlete. Plus, I wear a size 4-6 dress and a size 8 jean [hips are still a little on the plus size, kids will do that,you know]. So, I must relinquish my desire, my compulsion, my addiction to another poor soul. May you fare better than I but here is a word of advice-Why don't you just eat the carrot instead! [Oh,why don't you try to wear a very strong scented perfume,they vent those fast food smells outside for a reason-ADVERTISING].