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Some of my greatest memories of life were, and still are, made while huddled around a plate of French fries.
In high school, late-night work sessions backstage led to a bunch of us converging on the local Denny’s restaurant, which was open late. We grabbed a large booth in the back… or sometimes, we pushed three or four tables together, depending on the size of the crew. Spring musicals usually had more theatre nuts than the fall one-acts. We were teenagers, basically poor, and in those days, tremendously under-supervised. French fries were the perfect late-night meal… super inexpensive, and easy to share. We sat around drinking Coke, Sprite, Hot Cocoa, and munching on fries while singing show tunes, reciting lines, making up stories about the 'weirdos' who were in the restaurant with us much later than they should be, and cracking some of the most un-funny jokes known to humankind. We usually closed the place. I’m not sure if the waitstaff were happy or annoyed we were there… but we were regular, always paid our check, always left a nice tip, and we were always polite, if perhaps a little loud.
As I grew into adulthood, French fries continued to accompany happy memories. Back in my tentative dating years, they were the perfect thing to order on a first encounter… not too messy, not too expensive, easy to eat politely while chatting, there were never any leftovers, and they simply made me happy. Seriously, even now, as a nearly geriatric woman, a plate of French fries with friends in almost any setting will induce laughter every time. It’s the small things in life that bring me the most joy.
After my son was born, French fries were a fun ending to a day at the park, shopping, or anything else where I thought he should be rewarded for being an amazing child (it happened a lot). Stopping off at McDonalds or Burger King on the way home was a highlight of our day. In all honesty, the boy was happier with the fact that he also got to spend time running and climbing through the indoor playscape… and his fries came with a toy. But for me, the fries, no matter how stale, cold, or bland, were the perfect excuse for me to create happy memories of precious time spent with my son. Even now, grabbing fries to go with conversation and hang-out time with him is something I look forward to with tremendous glee.
Much later in adulthood, I discovered Outback restaurants. The things they do with French fries there… it’s so good, it might be sinful. But as I was told as a child, if you’re going to sin, sin big. This is exactly why fudge sauce is added to ice cream and cake… but I digress. Back to the Ausie Fries.
First, they keep the skins on them. The added flavor is a bonus. Then, they drown them in melty cheddar cheese. If you’ve been keeping up, you already know how much I love cheese. Then… if that wasn’t enough… the nice chef smothers the whole pile of happiness in bacon bits. Usually, I’m not a fan of reheated French fries. I need them hot and freshly created. But Ausie Fries… I can have a pile of them in the fridge, reheat them the next day, and be perfectly happy. Okay, that rarely happens because, well, fries, and cheese, and bacon… but you get the point.
The big take away here? I’ve never encountered a pile, plate, or bag of fries I didn’t like. And, if anyone ever wants to spend next to nothing and brighten my day in a way that’s guaranteed to create a lasting memory for me… Friench fries are absolutely the best choice. After all, they’re replenishable… which means they bring me joy over and over again. So, if ever we spend time together, and you wonder why I’m only ordering French fries at a restaurant, you can be sure it’s because I value our time together and I want to be sure I always remember.
French fries aren’t just some frivolous add-on to a meal… they are a small wonder that solidifies a moment shared with others strongly in my heart and mind. French fries… especially Ausie Cheese & Bacon French fries from Outback are Things That Make Life Worth Living.
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