Monday, July 2, 2012

This is the way to Auntie's house

This post brought to you by White Castle. All opinions are 100% mine.
I write mostly about home cooking, but when I was offered an opportunity to tell a story about White Castle, I couldn't pass it up. Years ago, when I first told my husband about this family tradition, he thought it was pretty funny, and now that the people involved are no longer with us, it's safe to spill the beans in public.

It all starts with my dad. He wasn't a very demanding guy when it came to food, or at least he wasn't fussy about what he ate. However, he was VERY particular about what time he ate. Lunch was at noon and dinnertime was 5 p.m., with very few exceptions. Oh, sure, he could wait an extra five or ten minutes, but much beyond that and he got cranky.

If he could have a little snack, he could let the dinner deadline slide a little. But when he was stuck with no dinner and no snacks, he was miserable.

And that's what started a family tradition that drove my mother nuts - the ritual stop at White Castle for a few burgers before going to dinner at Mom's sister's house. I thought it was a great treat. My mother thought it was crazy. It kept my dad happy.
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You see, we'd be invited to my aunt's house for a holiday dinner - the sisters would switch off between Thanksgiving and Christmas - with our arrival scheduled in early afternoon and dinner planned for some time around 5 p.m. So far, so good. Dad could have lunch at home and look forward to dinner at what he considered the "right" time.

Inevitably, dinner would be delayed. The turkey wouldn't be done, or the roast needed to rest or one of the other guests was running late and we had to wait for them.
It didn't matter how well everything was planned, or how good everyone's intentions were, dinner always moved from 5 p.m. to 6 or maybe even 7, and by then Dad was ready to start munching on the houseplants or fighting the dog for a bone.

One year on the way to my aunt's house, Dad pulled the car into White Castle while my mother protested loudly and I giggle with glee. I loved having burgers my size, and it seemed so naughty to stop for a snack on the way to eat dinner. And, trufhfully, I never liked my aunt's cooking as much as I liked what Mom made, so it was a little insurance, just in case I had to refuse that awful turkey stuffing or mince pie.

While Mom protested that we were already running late and that we'd ruin our appetites, Dad said he knew dinner would be late as usual, and he wasn't going to put up with it any more. And if he was being honest, he didn't like the stuffing, either. So he had burgers, I had burgers, and mom had a little pout in the car.

Then we were on our way, tummies happy. When the dinner ran late and later, Dad was able to be a civilized guest, and everyone was happier, even when mince pie was on the table.

Where I live now, there aren't any White Castles nearby, so I can't take advantage ot the two free sliders at the White Castle site, CraverNation.com, but I did print out a coupon for some frozen burgers. And when I told my husband, he grinned. We both grew up eating them, and we've both got stories. It's like edible nostalgia.

What's that? You want two free sliders?
I knew you would. Join Craver Nation!, and pick up your coupon and check out the promotions that are currently running - the You Just Got Served and National Anthem challenges.


And tell me, have YOU ever had a White Castle burger (or, you know, a handful of them?) What's your story?
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