Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gray Skies and Lunch Escapes and Fast Food Bigotry

It's cold in the house today, even though it's supposed to be the warmest day of the week. It's a glum, gray sky out there, hiding the sun and starving the dog of patches of warm carpet to lie in. I woke up this morning and looked out the window to see only branches on the trees. The leaves have all gone south for the winter. I realized yesterday that my tan lines are gone too. Faded away. It's winter skin now.

Ugh.

Ryan worked from home today, so we went to Taco Bell for lunch. The drive-thru lady recognized us. Maybe because we ate dinner there last night. And lunch on Tuesday.

She's a very efficient drive-thru worker--all business--repeating your order and asking after every pause if there will be anything else. She has a magnificent accent, very Rosie Perez, and I always try to impersonate her after we drive away with our bean burritos, soft and crunchy tacos, all fresco style.  I haven't been to every Taco Bell in the nation, but I'm still going to say this: our Taco Bell is the best Taco Bell in the nation, possibly the world. Everything is just as it should be--the meat is meaty, the beans are bean-y, the soft tortillas are soft, and the crunchy tacos are so tasty, I'd be willing to pay $1.29 for them if they asked.

I'm a little embarrassed that Rosie Perez recognized us, but not so embarrassed that I won't go there tomorrow if the mood strikes. I'm not ashamed of my Taco Bell habit. Did I mention that it's the best Taco Bell in the universe?

Ryan and I used to escape high school for lunch. We'd take our allotted lunch money (about two bucks each) and drive to McDonalds for cheeseburgers or McChicken sandwiches. One day the drive-thru lady said, "See you tomorrow!" We laughed for months.

I guess some things never change.

The best Taco Bell in the nation is also a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, which used to bother me immensely. I remember the first time I saw a hybrid Taco Bell/KFC. It just seemed so....unnatural. I kept imagining the kitchen stocked with packets of honey butter and fire sauce. I imagined Colonel Sanders in a sombrero and he looked pained, ridiculous, confused. I turned up my nose and kept my distance. I was a fast food bigot, I guess. As much as I loved Taco Bell and KFC, I just couldn't accept them...{hard swallow}...together.

When it came right down to it, why did I care if the cole slaw was in the same refrigerator as the pico de gallo? Why shouldn't the eleven herbs and spices that coat my favorite drumsticks hang out with the cinnamon and sugar that coat my favorite cinnamon twists? Why can't buttermilk biscuits and gorditas be friends?

You see, we don't know our own biases until we are faced with them.

Eventually, I gained maturity and perspective. It happened one day in the car when we were grabbing a bite to eat before one of Christian's games on a busy Saturday. Two people in the car wanted Taco Bell and two people wanted KFC, but we only had time to stop at one drive-thru. It was a moment of real drama. I had to put aside my fears that the gravy ladle was also the bean ladle. I had to challenge my beliefs and admit that a taco in a paper bucket is still a taco.

We ate our lunch that day, each satisfied with our respective tastes of old Kentucky and old Mexico, and I guess you could say that I only forgot to order one thing: humble pie. But then I remembered that it's McDonalds that sells those.

It's a complicated life, that's for sure, but it's a good one. I think I'll discuss it with Rosie Perez tonight at the drive-thru.

18 comments:

Andria said...

I think you are hilarious. And I love how much you love Taco Bell. At least your husband agrees with your love. Mine won't come near Taco Bell, no matter how much I try to convince him!

Miranda said...

You are hi-freakin-larious. Seriously. I'm glad your family's fast food needs brought you to a higher place.

Jesse C said...

I've always been turned off by the hybrid fast food places. It's like they are having an identity crisis. I'm glad you've gotten over your bias, I haven't.

Soul-Fusion said...

I learned in my franchise law class the technical term is "co-branding" and it can lead to trouble. Except somehow KFC and Taco Bell made it work. No matter, I have always been and always will be a fast food bigot (I cheered the closure of a local McDonalds). I make no apologies.

MiaKatia said...

Oh man lets not get started with all my fast food issues, like for example that I eat there more than any sane human being should. I think I need to hang out with Soul-Fusion, I could use some fast food bigotry.

jennie w. said...

Our KFC shares a space with a Wing Stop. Two chicken restaurants in one space? Isn't that a bit redundant?

Kellybee said...

I am the only person in my family who LOVES the Taco Bell. I love a good Mexican Pizza and a Meximelt. I need to hang with your family!

aimee heff said...

MMmmmmmm Taco Bell! How does one not find something to love on their menu. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. I treat when I don't want to cook. I totally agree about the difference a soft tortilla can make too. If you consistent softness you give Rosie a big hug and never look back.

Emily said...

Yes, but have you ever seen a KenTacoHut? KFC/Taco Bell/Pizza Hut all in one. It's... gulp-worthy at first, but basically fine. :)

Annie said...

It's funny to imagine the real Rosie Perez eating Kentucky Fried Chicken, huh? With the little biscuit and a spork for the coleslaw...

Illinivicki said...

You are adorable! Love this post. Your blog always makes me smile.

Kami said...

You crack me up! I'm glad to know that we aren't the only ones eating take out mexican more than once a week. Del Taco and Taco Amigo get visited regularly.

Becky said...

Very cute! I can always count on you for a good read and a reason to smile!

Lindy-Lou said...

Dang!you're good!

Ann said...

I'm happy to find you and your blog!

Suzie said...

I just love your brain.

Christy said...

I enjoyed your fast food issues. They are thoroughly entertaining.

Omgirl said...

I'm seriously jealous of your awesome Taco Bell. Can they give my taco bell lessons? Cause I'm pretty sure Utah County is home to the 4 worst taco bells in the western hemisphere. Even 11 secret herbs and spices couldn't save their bad beans.

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