Wednesday, April 03, 2013

C is for Chili Dog




I was almost 14  in June of 1979, and my mom was six months pregnant with my baby sister.

For many reasons, my mom had been toying with the notion of becoming a vegetarian. Health reasons, biblical arguments, and memories of watching beloved sheep and cows being hauled off to slaughter. But it wasn't until she became pregnant with her last child that she stopped eating meat.

Until she had a craving.

"Honey," she said to Daddy one summer evening. "I want a chili dog from the Big M."

The Big M  Diner, which sat adjacent to the Bel Air Drive-in Theater,  served typical, all-American burgers and dogs, fries and Coke. Girls on rollerskates would deliver your food to your car window. (Think Sonic.) People would come from all over the county for the Big M drive-in experience.

"You want a chili dog? I thought you were going vegetarian," he said.

"Well, yes, at some point, I am.  But right now I've gotta have a Big M chili dog."

What Mama wanted, Daddy was eager to give her. And, being a softie for his three (soon-to-be-four) daughters, he drove the whole family to the Big M.  

"I'd like a chili dog for my wife, please."
"Mustard and onions?"
"Please."
"Relish?"
He looked over at Mama, raising his brows.
"Oh, I'll relish it," she said, "but no, I don't want relish on it."

She ate every last bite of that chili dog, relished it,  and went home. It was the last time she ever ate meat.

There's nothing quite so bizarre as a vegetarian ordering a chili dog unless, of course, she's pregnant.   



8 comments:

Lea Culp said...

Oh, I love this! As we know, when pregnant, women can have food cravings that MUST be met. Your Big M sounds like the Sandy's Drive-In we went to for Root Beer Floats. Oh, what memories!

Teresa Coltrin said...

I love everything about chili dogs. Oh the cravings. :)

In 1979, I was 23, married with one kiddo.

Changes in the wind said...

That is quite a little story and no wonder you haven't forgotten it:)

Susan Kane said...

No relish? Amazing how pg women love certain foods. For me, it was tacos, lots of tacos. There was a Taco Bell near us at the time, fortunately.

Jo said...

Never had a chili dog. Seem to be lots of vegetarians or vegans around. Good story.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Nel said...

What a fun memory! I can somewhat remember us frequenting an A&W in the Chicago area. I think we usually got the floats or rootbeer. It would come in a big frosty mug and they would have the tray that hung on your window. Good memories!
until next time...nel

Beth Zimmerman said...

Sounds about right! She's still vegetarian? I tried it for a short time in my teens but the fact that I don't care for many vegetables was pretty limiting! =)

Joyce said...

Your posts are so fun and I am just loving your theme!