Ode to Chili fries……

It was the summer of 1975 when we first met. It was a hot, steamy day that just cried out for a icy cold drink. I lived in a small town, with not many options for dining out. In fact, our family did not eat out much at all. Whenever we did it was quite a treat.
On this particular afternoon, my mother saw fit to take me to an old high school haunt of hers. The A & W Rootbeer stand. It was nestled in an out of the way corner right between the junior high and high schools. Very conveniently placed to be sure.
As we walked up to the ordering window, I remember the smell of something new and wonderful wafting towards me.
I remember that my mom let me read through the entire menu before suggesting I order chili fries. I wasn’t much of a fan of hot foods, but she assured me that it would not be too spicey for me.
Little did I know how this small order would change my life.
The chili fries were like nothing I had ever had in my young, short life. The chili was meat in a heavenly sauce, with just enough flavor to blow my mind. The fries were perfectly crisp on the outside and creamy soft on the inside. Melted cheese smothered the whole affair like whipped cream on a sundae.
I couldn’t get enough. I ate all of my and then started in on my sister’s order. She fought me off like a mother tiger protecting her young! She had fallen under the spell as well.
After that day, we asked my mother for chili fries at least twice a day. As I said earlier, we didn’t eat out much. This was probably due to our large family size as well as our mother’s desire to cook nutritious home meals. Our trips to the RootBeer stand were few and far between. But, whenever we did go, you can be sure that Chili Fries were what we ordered. My sister was brave and tried the chimichaunga once, but…she repented and returned to chili fries the next time.
You may ask how a simple meal of meat on fries can change a person’s life? I will tell you. I have traveled all across the country. In every state in the south and most in the North. Everywhere I go I looke for A & W Rootbeer stands. Just hoping to find that one of a kind taste. I have never found it. Everything pales in comparison. My mother claimed to have gotten the official recipe for them from the A&W stand, but…it wasn’t the same. My tastebuds have been forever changed by my experiences at that small little stand.
If you go to my home town now, you will see the remains of the rootbeer stand. It stands as a shrine to what once was. It represents a piece of the past. A lost innocence if you will. I don’t think they will ever tear it down. Everyone keeps waiting for it to come alive again and give us back our chili fries.

One thought on “Ode to Chili fries……

  1. I think that can be the breeding ground for passion in something tasty. If you decide to buy the stand and start the A&W back up you wil need dedicated employees. I would like to be the second in command next to you… I to have a passion for the A&W but mine was for the burgers and floats. together we cover most of the menu.

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