Thursday, September 13, 2007

Buffalo Grove Days, or, "Had Enough Crap Yet?"

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 M8K It Super Slush Lab

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.

You M8K It Super Slush Lab

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!

You M8K It Super Slush Lab

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!

Brothers BBQ Tent at Buffalo Grove Days

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.

Pulled Pork Sandwich at Buffalo Grove Days

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.

Chicken Gyro at Buffalo Grove Days

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.

Lemon Shake-Ups at Buffalo Grove Days

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.


  1. hey,,,,,,,,how are ya'll?? They have a Brothers here in Lakeland Florida, too, they are great. Your blog is fun to read, I am catching up !! Where is Gramma Shirley, probably at the Casino tent up there,,,,,,,,,,,,,KIDDING, MOM !!

    Gina, I am the one who had the heart surgery, and I have redone many of your recipes to go with my diet----I am doing my best, and I am down to 127 # and a size XS/6 !! I had to brag on here, GO ME !! Thank you for this blog, it encourages me & is fun to follow you guys !!!
    I am going to come up north sometime next year, and want you to meet me & Gramma S.............(poor you !! )
    later, be blessed, jane

  2. Hi Aunt Jane!! (Funny, because I also have an aunt Jane...) Go you, is right!! I am proud of you for making so many changes. So many people know they have to... and they don't, anyway (that's what I've learned in the medical profession so far). I would love to meet you guys one day! Let me know when you're in town...

  3. Ok - wish I was at the casino - my family all thinks I am a big gambler but I mostly play the 2 cent machines when I am lucky enough to go. Gina, I am so proud of my daughter Jane - she is a survivor and works hard at it. We do love your food and the beautiful pictures - you are just so poetic with your descriptions of everything. As I said before, your man is so lucky to have you and I am sure it works both ways. Ok - I have said enough - Bless y'all - Grandma Shirley

  4. Good job Jane! You weigh less than me now! And I'm sure your diet is much better than mine (eating yummy healthy stuff for meals isn't my's the brownie sundaes I have after I put the kids to bed!) Anyway, is it weird that I have to find out about the status of my aunt's health and her plans for upcoming vacations on a food blog written by someone I haven't seen for almost 10 years?

  5. I love me a lemon shake-up come fair time...real lemons and so sweet! It's the only sugary drink I like (well, other than a shake, but I don't consider that a's dessert.)
    p.s. That Slush Thing makes me want to vomit.

  6. Nicole... Well, we could fix that. Going to the Kank anytime soon..? I am. To meet your Grandma. :D

    Brooke... Yes. Yes, me too.

  7. I was just promising my parents that we'd come up for a visit before too long, although it won't be either of the next two weekends. I could force my Grandma to stay up past 7pm and make her come out to the Moon Monkey to meet you all. This past weekend, I was hearing rumblings of a very casual "BBCHS- Mac classes of the early 90s reunion". It was the brainchild of Rachael Lan. from my class, and I think she's trying to rope Rachel Lof. into helping her plan it. Just a "come to the state park on such-and-such afternoon...bring the kids...if you hear about it, you're invited" sort of thing. So I guess if that ends up happening I'd have to get us up there to check out the festivities.

  8. Blogger's husbandSeptember 19, 2007 at 10:17 AM

    I liked Moon Monkey!

  9. Me too. I have a post on it for one of these days...

  10. Moon Monkey is a fun little place to sit and chat. One time we ventured upstairs to check out the live music and we were, by at least 10 years, the oldest people there. The performer was one guy and his guitar warbling Damien Rice while a whole gaggle of sorority sisters looked on. It looked like a scene out of "Saved By the Bell...the College Years".

  11. Moon Monkey rocks!