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?"
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.
Penned by Zoanna