The other week, my coworker let me in on a little secret: her go-to lunch spot is a diner down the street from the library. I was dumbfounded. I’ve worked here for almost two years and have been to literally every other restaurant within a 10 block radius, but this particular establishment had never even registered as an option. After joining her for a quick lunch last week, I now see the error of my ways. Though I’m not yet at my coworker’s frequent diner status (perks of which include ordering off the menu), I hope to become a regular soon.
There’s something so reassuring about diners. I think it’s knowing that you’ll get the same food wherever you go. It could also have something to do with the lighting- it’s bright, no matter what. Or maybe the company? The wait staff? The shiny vinyl booths and outdated kitchen appliances? Or maybe it’s just the fact that two eggs and toast always hits the spot. If you’re craving some comfort food, sample these three books about diners:
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Story centers on a cafe in the railroad town of Whistle Stop, Alabama, and on Idgie and Ruth, the two women who run the cafe. There are numerous real-life, minor characters in this tale that ranges from Whistle Stop to Valdost Georgia, Birmingham, and Chicago, and swing back and forth in time from the pre-depression era to the present. The core of this novel is the unusual love affair between Idgie and Ruth. Some strong language. 1987.
Empire Falls, Maine, was once a thriving town with three mills. But the owners, the Whitings, have allowed their vast holdings to become decrepit real estate. Miles Roby, who runs the Empire Grill for Mrs. Whiting, recounts the tale of this dying town with bemused regret. Some strong language. Bestseller. Pulitzer Prize. 2001.
Blue Plate Specials and Blue Ribbon Chefs: The Heart and Soul of America’s Great Roadside Restaurants
Celebrated food writers travel across the country to find the tastiest down-home dishes America’s blue-collar chefs have to offer. Going from the busiest truck stop diners to the friendliest greasy spoons, the Sterns introduce a cast of cafe characters, profile the chefs, and give their favorite recipes. 2001.