by Sad Man’s Tongue
When I am asked if I miss the United States I always say I miss breakfast more than anything else. I just love that greedy American breakfast that you can get anytime of the day and hour in the morning, especially after a night of drinking. This concept of breakfast just does not exist in many parts of Europe, so it is always a struggle for me to find a good breakfast when I am on vacation, hence the need to find a hotel that serves a good breakfast buffet. While these hotel buffets serve their purpose nothing beats a diner breakfast.
While there are many corporate franchise diner look a likes such as IHOP, Perkins, and Denny’s, they lack the personality of the single owner ma and pop family run diner. Many of these local diners were lost as the larger corporate franchises started to pop up, but there has been a resurgence in recent years as long standing diners remain, closed diners have been refurbished and reopened, and new local diners have popped up.
Each local diner, unlike their corporate counterpart, usually has the personality of the owner and the town in wich it is located, making each one different and unique. When you think how the slow food movement is against the destruction of local food culture by these corporate beasts, you can see this evolution through the eyes of the American Diner.
My sister thinks she is free because she can shop at GAP or Anne Taylor in any of the fifty states, while some probably feel the same about being able to dine out at an IHOP (International House of Pancakes), any where they are at. That is not freedom. Freedom is being able to eat at any number of different diners because each is so different, because the people that own, run, and work in them are free to bring their own personalities, recipes, and character to each and everyone, and I am free to experience them all.
So that is what I miss. I miss the ability to experience the personality of a town when I travel by going to its local diner. Even Elvis, as pictured above, loved Diners. Check out those prices they have posted in 1956. Here are some more classic diner photos.