Food Buzz

Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Toy surprise

It probably won't shock any of you to know that I generally eschew fast food. And I don't have to tell you why; you already know, or you can guess. So yeah, the first three years of his life Jasper never went near a McDonald's.

Then we spent the summer in suburban California. With cable TV.

Suddenly Jasper was asking us to take him to Burger King where one could procure Transformer toys. I would demur, saying something about how the food there is yucky. But then he would bring up the toys. So I explained it this way. If you want a good toy, go to a toy store. If you want good food, go to a good restaurant. But places that try to do toys and food at the same time usually fail on both counts.

It's important to point out here that Jasper wanted Burger King, not McDonald's. McD's was the enemy, he told us. Burger King's enemy. "Really? How do you know this?" I asked. "Did you learn this from TV?" No, he said. He just knew. "Also they have the better toys."

Jasper kept asking for Burger King and since he always asked in a nice way I finally decided to let him try the poison apple on a road trip. We pulled off the freeway and cruised El Camino Real for the King. It took longer than if we'd been looking for the golden arches, but finally we found one. Alas, they were out of Transformer toys, but they did have a Simpsons toy: Bart on a skateboard. Jasper nibbled his fries and burger but did not finish them. He drank all of the milk, as usual.

When we got home I tossed the burger and fries. It was junk I didn't want him to eat anyway. But he remembered! And he asked for it when dinnertime arrived. Bitter, bitter tears were shed when I revealed my horrible mistake. And since it had been my mistake, I promised we could go back. Jasper made a valiant attempt to eat some real dinner. At 9:00 p.m., finding ourselves wide awake and a little bored, we piled back into the car and went looking for the nearest Burger King.

Another long drive down the Royal Way we finally found it, hidden inside a shopping center. When I walked in I felt like I was in one of those horror movie scenes, where the background receeds further and further away. The place was nearly deserted and it seemed to take forever to walk past all those empty tables to the order counter. We ordered the kid meal and, to Jasper's joy, discovered that they actually had the Transformer toys. Jasper wrapped his arms around my neck and proclaimed "Mom, you're the best!"

For this I get the ultimate praise? Taking my son to a fast food restaurant?

As we waited for our order we looked into a time capsule of a cabinet they had hanging on the wall. There were the treasures of Burger King days past: the Star Wars glasses my family once collected, the Lion King figurines my youngest sister Marisa collected and passed on to Jasper, even Simpsons toys from the 1980s. And because I'd forgotten to take my Nostalgicid that morning I actually got a little misty looking at all that crap.

Jasper dug into his second kid meal of the day on our way home. But he stopped about a third of the way through his burger. "I don't like this weird sauce," he reported, handing his burger to me. Ketchup. It was hard for me not to gloat. And it's impossible not to mention here that whenever we went to the one and only good fast food restaurant, In-N-Out Burger, Jasper ate every bit of his meal.

Now that we're back in Brooklyn, far away from any Burger Kings, he hasn't mentioned it since. When we pass the McDonald's near Target he points out to me, again, that there's the enemy. And I've discovered another kind of food that sometimes comes with a toy surprise.

I found a rock in our arugula.

And yes, a rock is a toy. Of all the treasures California held I think Jasper's favorite were the rocks. He collected piles and even made it home with a handful. (They're not called rocks, by the way; they're called rocket ships. Don't make that mistake!) And so, my friends, the foodie is yet again justified in her ways. The universe aligns to support her quest to properly shape her son's palate. Could it be any other way?


ks said...

Three comments come to mind:
1. What a fun story! Oh, and excellent job on keeping Jasper away from the evil poison that is fast food! I'm encouraged by this as I intend to do the same thing should parenthood ever happen for us.
2. Gorgeous ring...your wedding band?
3. I hope you didn't buy that arugula by the pound! I have found more than one little green caterpillar in mine but they don't weigh much.

Swizzies said...

Nostalgicid - awesome. :-) Great, great post, A. You are a Writer, woman.

Luisa Perkins said...

Well done, AV. I am coveting the coinage of Nostalgicid.

And your ring IS gorgeous.

Adriana Velez said...

KS, Lane designed our bands -- you're shocked, right? They're each based on our initials. Mine has an AV pattern and Lane's has LT. We had them made in this funky little shop in the East Village. Loud Rolling Stones was playing every time we were there.

Oooh, critters in your produce!

Thanks Swizzies! Alas, I cannot take credit for coining Nostalgicid (TM). It was invented by some friends of ours.

Kate The Great said...

I love the wedding band as well.

Sheri said...

Love this...