Words of wisdom on my wedding day from my about-to-be husband’s aunt as I waited out the final minutes in the bride’s room. In the absence of his deceased parent’s, Aunt Jeanne delivered my intended to the church, on time with a Big Mac and fries in his tummy. She actually said, “If the kiss smells like McDonald’s, that because he needed something in his stomach. Everyone needs a hamburger and French fries in time of crisis.” It was an 8 o’clock wedding (this was 1976, and a formal affair) and it wasn’t unusual for folks to get hungry before you got to the reception, much less a 26 year old man in white tie and tails at the altar of a packed church in the smothering heat of June. It’s funny, I’ve remembered that comment, considering the moment, but it’s certainly come back to me as the truth in the last month.
I’ve had nothing but crisis lately; two parents, of very advanced age in constant, seriously poor health. It’s been a blur of ambulances, emergency rooms, spending the night in a chair by a hospital bed, rehab, nursing homes, and excruciating decisions. I don’t know how many food critics there are out there but, I now consider myself an expert on hospital and nursing home “cuisine”. It’s bad, period. My mother knows how to get what she wants, and has made a point of making acquaintances with whoever is in charge of food in these places and either asks very nicely or pitches a fit to get palatable food. Frequently, I sneak in what she and Daddy prefer from outside, even if it isn’t what the doctor ordered. They’re 90, for crying out loud.
If there has ever been a time for a hamburger and French fries in my life, this was it. After a grueling few days of hospital duty, my husband suggested we go to Ted’s Montana Grill, a block from the hospital. The “America’s Cup Hamburger” with cheese and exceptional smoky bacon was balm to the wound. It was the biggest, juiciest burger I’ve ever eaten. Like a pilgrim and the grail, it restored my soul and enabled me to go back and face another round of IVs and BPs.
No one will ever convince me a hamburger and French fries aren’t right up there with chicken soup and penicillin.