This summer, I took a class on “Reading and Writing Food” at Columbia. Over the next few weeks, I will post a sampling of essays composed for that class.
note 7/12/11: Steak ‘n Shake is coming to New York! Read about it here.
In Search of Lost Steakburgers
“I was twelve going on thirteen when I first saw a dead human being. It happened in 1960, a long time ago. . .although sometimes it doesn’t seem that long to me.” —Stephen King, “The Body”
When Dan the Manager got busted on a coke binge, the Steak ‘n Shake gang wasn’t surprised. We had all left St. Louis after high school; I was living in New York, Josh in Virginia, Jack in North Carolina. Over vacations we visited our adolescent haunt, sipping watery milkshakes and polishing off bowls of bright red chili. Yet, even a steakburger—topped with guacamole and chopped onions and pepperjack cheese—couldn’t bring back the Indian summer of our teenage years. First, our favorite waitress, Shannon, quit and went to college at Northeast Missouri State. Tani’qua got fired and works at Walmart. Sean disappeared, too—he once banged a Mexican gangster’s girlfriend and narrowly escaped drugland execution. Or so he said. But Dan was always around with a grin twitching under his pederastic mustache and a joke to lighten the burden of time unregained. Continue reading