From Pecan Spins to Bagels

A mother and grandmother reflects on the nutritional value of Pecan Spins and fried bologna.

When my children were little, I fed them Pecan Spins for breakfast. Sometimes they ate cereal, and if I recall correctly, Carrie’s favorite was Fruity Pebbles. That’s okay with milk, right? And they also drank orange juice, plenty of it. It was loaded with sugar, but I didn’t know that at the time. When Pop Tarts became popular, we switched to them for a while. All those flavors, and they were quick and easy to prepare. What more could a mom ask for? Even Paul, the reluctant breakfast eater, liked them. He liked Eggos too, as long as I didn’t smear any margarine on them before pouring on the syrup. Later, he graduated to fried bologna. In fact, he liked it so much that he soon learned to cook it himself. Carrie loved going to McDonald’s and would promptly slather syrup all over her sausage too.

I know so much more now. Sure we ate plenty of fruit, especially apples and bananas, but I don’t remember that many blueberries (unless they were in muffins) or Bing cherries. All three children liked grapes, maybe because they were small, easy to eat, and neat…nothing to peel or drip. Until I got a lesson on nutrition from Lisa, little did I know that white grapes weren’t really all that healthy, at least compared to purple or red ones. In the vegetable area, we often ate green beans, corn, sliced tomatoes, and speckled butter beans. Only rarely did I serve asparagus and broccoli.

What was I thinking??? I was ignorant, pure and simple. I mean, I knew about the five food groups and tried to make sure that everyone got his and her fair portion every day, but it was wrong, just plain wrong, to let French fries count as a vegetable. One evening, a high school friend of my husband’s came by to eat hamburgers with us, and even though he was a gracious and mannerly guest, he said, “I’ve always heard that the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead.” Well, we certainly hadn’t heard that, and we thought he was a bit fanatical. 

That was yesteryear, my friends, and my diet is a lot different now. I think I’d choke on a Pecan Spin, and the absolute last thing I’d let my grandchildren eat for breakfast is a sugary cereal. Whole wheat bagels and peanut butter is my standard breakfast fare.  There’s a lot more information out there on nutrition than there was “back in the day,” and as an older (er, more mature) adult, I can well understand the certain impact of food on the body. I want to feel energetic and prevent diseases like cancer and diabetes, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that certain foods are better or worse for one’s body than others.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an extremist who spends her life chomping on carrot sticks and glaring condescendingly towards anyone devouring those yummy rolls at Fatz. In fact, I’ll probably grab one from time to time. And if my better half is eating fries from Mickey Dee’s, I’ll undoubtedly snap a couple. Connie and I dined at San Jose’s last night, and I chowed down on the chips.

At the same time, I’d like to live 25 or so more years and BE HEALTHY. That’s not going to happen on a steady diet of cheesecake, loaded baked potatoes, fried chicken (love that stuff!), and cola drinks. Pass the wheat bread, please.


May I Have Some Conditioner Please?

A couple of things that have happened in the past few days have made me think more about customer service. In the text we’re using for a human relations course, the authors (Reece & Brandt) say that organizations are increasingly concerned about the quality of service to customers.  They say that in any service-type business, “there are thousands of ‘moments of truth,’ those critical incidents in which customers come into contact with the organization and form their impressions of its quality and service.” Amen to that. Here are two recent experiences.

This past weekend Elizabeth and I stayed in a Day’s Inn in Rincon, GA, probably for the last time. Here’s why.  Neither  of us brought hair condtioner, but we weren’t too concerned about it. Most motels have the little bottles available for use. Not this one. The only toiletry on the counter was a small bottle of shampoo and a tiny bar of facial soap. No problem, or so I thought. I’d just pick some up when I went to the office to get another towel. We only had two, both pretty small and threadbare, and Lib needed one for her hair. Problem. Day’s Inn in Rincon doesn’t offer conditioner for travelers. Incredulous at this news, I was then told that these things had a way of disappearing. So??? I mean, aren’t these items meant to be used?

It gets worse. When I asked her for an extra towel, the desk clerk (after rolling her eyes) walked to another room, got a towel, and told me it was the last one.  I might add that this wasn’t a “cheap” place. We’ve stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn near the interstate for less $$, and the rooms, staff, and frills were much nicer. The price was less at the other two motels too. We just opted to stay at the Day’s Inn because of the proximity to Carrie’s house. Next time, we’ll go for comfort and customer service rather than convenience.

Connie says one of my favorite words is juxtapose, and maybe she’s right. But then I have a lot of favorite words like stellar and higgledy-piggledy and deterge. But I digress.

Juxtapose the Day’s Inn scenario with this. Last night we dined at the local Fatz Café with some of my husband’s family. We were celebrating Karen’s birthday of May 5th. Yes, we’re a bit behind schedule. But again, I digress. Anyway we had to wait quite a while because there were no tables or booths available for six people.  Just when we thought we were about to be seated, the party decided to stay for coffee and conversation.

Alas, we waited about 20 more minutes, but to soften things a bit, the hostess apologized profusely and offered us something to drink—twice.  Finally seated, we ordered our food from the senior menu (we love this!) and chatted some more while waiting for the entrees. We also munched on some warm rolls. When the food arrived, I was given teriyaki chicken instead of salmon, and the young server apologized and scooted off to the kitchen to rectify things. In the meantime, the manager came over, and he too apologized AND then said there would be no charge for the meal. He also said he was sorry we’d had to wait so long AND then sent for more rolls.

Moral of the story: Stay away from Day’s Inn in Rincon, GA and frequent Fatz Café any chance you get. About the former, no one should ever have to pay for shoddy service and the skimpiest of offerings.