In September, nothing wraps up a summer of eating battered and deep-fried nitrites on sticks quite like the last big party, when Chris and I walk over to the Buffalo Grove Days. In the past, we've had chocolate and marshmallow-covered popcorn, had too much crappy yellow beer that was intensely overpriced, and witnessed the phenomenon that is "Infinity." To date, however, nothing had quite offended my eyes and ears so much as this:
You read it right. It's called "You M8K It Super Slush Lab," a spelling that could only make me think of my friend Jenny, who has mentally collected the perverse misspellings used by Madison Avenue to sell non-food items to kids ever since I can remember (think words like Nyce, Stuf, Lite, Likkum Stix, and Chawklit). Her notes to me in junior high and high school were filled with artfully worked phrases like, "Heyyy, Shì Patì, hoo du yoo lyke two-day?" Originally, that's why I took the picture, just to show it to Jen. But then I stood and looked at it a bit longer.
The unit glows with every garish color in the day-glo rainbow, and plays freakish carnival music (you know the one, the "big top" organ tune, "dit dit dooty ditta dit da doo-tie...") to lure children; a kind of modern-day witch's candy house. Kids can spend as little as $3 on a cup and make their own Super Slush flavor combo. But how are you gonna fit all the flavors you want in a $3 cup, Junior? With a variety that includes Sour Apple, Extreme Watermelon, Power Kiwi Burst, Tubular FD & C Neon Green #8, and Radical Premature Type II Diabetes, you'd better get mom to open up her pocketbook for the $7 cup! And then get to the dentist now. No, like, NOW. Stick two straws and a plastic spoon in it, Fattie, and get back in the SUV!
I soon realized that this wasn't just an amusing phonetic misspelling. What I was in the presence of was absolutely everything that is evil about America, in one portable electric trailer. Nothing less. I was mesmerized by the flowing, frosty pumps of glowing sin, and Chris eventually had to drag me away.
Now, let's focus on what IS good in this country, try not to think any longer about what starving children overseas would think of this gross display, and move onto the food tent. Yay! I smell barbecue!
It takes awhile to decide what to eat in the food tent. Much like Cher noted in the movie Clueless, you have to do at least one full lap before you commit to a location. We finally decided that Chris would get the pulled pork BBQ sandwich from Brothers' BBQ, and I found a nice option in the chicken gyros from the Continental Restaurant tent. I also got an ear of steamed corn, I think from the Girl Scout tent.
The pulled pork was very good. The pork had no sauce, and then when your sandwich is made up, it is added over the top. After living in Nashville a short time, I now feel that this is the only real way to serve pulled pork, so I approved.
I didn't know that the Continental served chicken gyros, but now I might need to go there to get another one sometime. It wasn't grilled chicken breast, but that same sort of "meat roll" on a spit, just as the lamb gyro was. The tzatziki sauce was very thick, and I thought the whole thing was really tasty. It was a bit leaner than the lamb gyro probably would have been, but I'm okay with that.
Chris and I both crunched on the corn-on-the-cob, which had just come out of the steamer and was boiling hot. Additional butter was not available, but the corn was so sweet it really didn't need it. They did have chili seasoning and parmesan cheese, which I did make good use of. Delicious.
Being averse to sweetened drinks of any kind (artificial or not), I opted for a bottle of water. Chris decided to try a Lemon Shake-Up at Randy's stand, before the claustrophobia-inducing conditions of the tent finally got to me.
The drink came not in a cup, but in a large oil barrel. I did take a sip, and I thought it was very good for what it was, with lots of fresh lemon juice. The amount of sugar still made my teeth feel "furry," though, immediately. I just don't get the sugary drink thing anymore, I guess. But Chris liked it.
We strolled on home in the beautiful weather, with empty wallets and full stomachs. Ahhh, you know what? I love this country.