Column: Plenty of salty times enjoyed over the yearsWORTHINGTON — I watch television. Nearly every day I see thin people clucking about people whose weight is higher than the medical charts recommend. The thin people use the O-word, which I think is unfair.
By: Ray Crippen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — I watch television. Nearly every day I see thin people clucking about people whose weight is higher than the medical charts recommend. The thin people use the O-word, which I think is unfair.
With the beginning of the new school year, TV’s focus has been on school lunches. I believe every school lunch room in America has a new menu with an array of fresh foods — raw food, nutritional foods and low-calorie foods. Fruits and vegetables. I think this is fine. Not all of the kids think it is fine. One of the TV newscasts showed kids coming to school with brown bags, bringing things they like best.
There was also a segment that showed the salt school kids consume day by day. Kids love fries, of course, and they eat fries with lots of salt. They like chips. They want salt on their burgers.
It set me to thinking about the amounts of salt I had in the years I was going to school. My cook often said, “Too much salt is not good for you.” How much is too much? This was never spelled out in grains or grams or teaspoons. It was just The Rule. “Too much salt is not good for you.”
Who was my cook? My mother, of course. Everybody in school at that time had that same answer. We all walked home and then back to school every noon. We had our breakfasts at home, and we had our suppers at home. (In that time our three meals each day were breakfast, dinner and supper. Breakfast, lunch, dinner came later.)
As I was thinking back, I remembered experiences with salt. I am not sure my cook knew we ate apples with salt. Sprinkle of salt. Bite of apple. Sprinkle of salt. Bite of apple. We had a salt shaker with us on the back steps or under the apple tree.
We also — I quiver a bit as I put this in words — we also ate rhubarb with salt. A little pile of salt in one palm, a stalk of newly-picked rhubarb in the other hand. Ugggggghhh! You shivered when you ate it. This did not happen often, however. It was a once-a-year or twice-a-year experience. We didn’t eat a lot of raw rhubarb.
And then popcorn. Evenings we sat around the radio eating popcorn. My cook usually popped the corn and she served it with butter and salt. But the salt was minimal. Too much salt is not good for you.
Worthington in that time had no drive-ins, no fast food kitchens. My memory is that the first drive-in at Worthington was Lou and Lily Miller’s A&W root beer stand on the site of what is now Scholtes Motors’ car lot. Later, A&W moved to what is now a popular Mexican restaurant at the intersection of East Avenue and Highways 59-60.
Oh my — Worthington loved A&W. Carhops carried trays of food directly to the customers’ cars and clamped the trays on the drivers’ doors. Nearly everyone had the same order: a coney and mug of rooter. A&W coney sauce was Lou Miller’s secret recipe. There truly was nothing else in the world like it.
A&W opened just before World War II. Maybe 1940. Just after the war, maybe 1946, Lorraine Yates (Jorgensen) opened the bright-colored yellow and green Shangri-La drive-in on Oxford Street. Shangri-La introduced burgers to Worthington’s drive-in menu. Lorraine made wonderful burgers. They were not huge.
It was about this time that Don Gesler introduced Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Chicken in a little free-standing kitchen not far from the Shangri-La. You went inside to place your order, and Don did not use the KFC identity. No one knew what KFC meant. They knew the chicken was good, and people began to bring home bags of chicken.
Ann Swanson opened the Chicken Coop restaurant/drive-in on Oxford. McDonald’s arrived in 1976 as part of the Northland Mall complex.
And to that date I don’t remember that anything was notably salty. Well the French fries — some people added salt to their fries. But everyone seemed to have learned The Rule: Too much salt is not good for you.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.