This Sunday I slide into familiar surroundings filled with warm memories and comfort food.
There is comfort food cooking like the way your grandmother made it. Then there is the comfort food from the local hot dog stand or a fast food place that serves regional specialties. I can’t resist the occasional visit to a Midwest a food classic cuisine where I’m surrounded by history, memories associated with my childhood.
If you grew up in the Midwest and then moved, you’ve probably found yourself craving this food at the end of an evening. The alabaster porcelain palace of White Castle is a Midwestern institution serving sliders the square-shaped hamburgers since 1921. The familiar surroundings in a White Castle are blast from a fast food past, because the appearance and the food have not changed much since it opened. And, that is what is comforting and good about it; it’s a classic square slice of the Midwest that doesn’t look or taste like all the other fast food hamburgers.
The one I visited was filled with memorabilia and old photographs. White Castle is a subculture onto itself with its own slang. The square-shaped hamburgers are called sliders, because they slide right down when you eat them. They are automatically served with grilled onions and brown mustard. There are chicken rings that fit on your fingers and fish sandwiches for those who don’t eat red meat.
To the uninitiated the burgers may seem strange and even a little greasy, but to a Midwesterner they are a taste of home in a white and blue box. The aroma is as distinctive as the burger and its packaging. When I walk into a White Castle, I’m surrounded by memories of hanging out with friends after a night at the movie theater or stopping at one on the way home from the beach in the summer.
A square serving of memories in the Midwest.