Wednesday, April 20, 2011

all-american


When it comes to food, I am an all-American kind of girl. Growing up in the Midwest in the 60s made a lasting impression on my taste buds.  There's nothing I like more than a good ol' burger and fries, with a large puddle of ketchup on the side.  My new favorite place to find such culinary fare is my local Graffiti Burger. Their handmade milkshakes are out of this world.  Eating here is a special treat, since eating all-American, unfortunately is not exactly the most healthy.


Graffiti's walls are covered with, you guessed it, graffiti.  "All-American" is spray painted in big black letters above the counter.  We chatted about the term and possible origins.  Post-Google, I found it started in 1888, with reference to baseball teams composed of the best players from the United States. Now, to be an all-American, has simply come to mean to possess qualities characteristic of American ideals, such as honesty, industriousness, and health. I liked it better back in the guilt-free days, when burgers and fries were considered well-balanced American eating.

After savoring every bite of the Graffiti lunch, I stopped by the library, and as synchronicity would have it, felt compelled to pick up Elia Kazan's America, America, 1963. Based on his novel about his uncle's experience immigrating from rural Turkey to the United States,  it is one of Kazan's lesser known films, compared to On the Waterfront or A Streetcar Named Desire, but it is certainly his most personal.

There are no big stars in this movie, but the acting is stellar. The unknown faces give it a raw and powerfully real quality. It starts slow, then builds, so give it a chance. America, America received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, and won an Oscar for Art Direction. Each frame is perfectly shot, like an exhibit of beautiful photography. If you are a connoisseur of art and film, you will love this movie.

As you know, my synchronicities come in threes.  My friend, Laurie Kolp, mentions an all-American as a plate filled with dreams. I wholeheartedly agree.


65 comments:

  1. Tess,

    I will certainly view Elia Kazan film. Thanks for the tip.

    Your top photo is delicious. Too bad those days of "good stuff food" are in the past for me. When I view food like your whipped cream with a red, red cherry I get nostalgic.

    -- barbara

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  2. Ach, a little of what you fancy does you good . . . :-)

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  3. Hi! Willow...
    Each and every photograph Of classic American meal(s) is/are very tempting to say the least.
    (Graffiti Burger, seems like a nice restaurant too!)
    Thanks, for the info(rmation) about Kazan's film..."America, America" and the definition Of "All-American."
    DeeDee ;-D

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  4. While in D.C., Reya took us for the best burgers in town, at Good Stuff Eatery. HmmmHmmm. You're so right. There is nothing quite as satisfying as a good burger once in a while. We had regular AND sweet potato fries with ours, and the requisite puddle of ketchup, of course!

    Oh, yeah, the movie looks good, too.

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  5. mmmmmmmmmmmmm burger and fries...u sure cant beat it....yummers.

    and I will view the film, thanx for the info :)

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  6. Being on a diet, as I am, I am tempted to lick the screen!

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  7. Convention Bar & Grill ~ Edina MN
    Pilot Butte Burger ~ Bend OR

    From one midwest gal to another!

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  8. Yummy- that looks and sounds fantastic, Tess. I, too, believe in synchronicities and sets of three. Thanks so much for mentioning me!!

    ~laurie

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  9. Helen, I'm adding those to my burger bucket list.

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  10. man oh man...a woman after my own heart!

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  11. Laurie, I knew when I read the words "all-American" on your blog post, it was the third in my set of three.

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  12. oh yes!

    All American eating seems to go hand in hand with comfort. Savor each bite of comfort, each bite of goodness.

    I had hot fudge sundaes with my daughter yesterday...she said no to the cherry. I said it's not a sundae without the cherry. Silly girl.

    yummy post!

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  13. omg!
    my fave foods!!

    the best for the comfort i crave.
    i would love to see the place.

    xx

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  14. An all American burger and fries is my fav meal. With a Saml Adams Summer Ale on the side.

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  15. Fries...
    Is there anything better than deep-fried potatoes? Yum!

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  16. I went looking for burger references and, thanks to Google, found this: "Back in the days when I was drinking, heavily, a buddy and I had a sure cure for a hangover. A cool, dark bar. We'd go to Harvey's or John's Wineburger in Phoenix, belt down an amazing number of cold ones, play B.B. King on the jukebox, eight ball on the pool table and tie into one of the great big greasy cheeseburgers. They were done on a metal sheet grill heated by fire and spritzed with red wine while cooking. Oooooohhhhh, baby! (And I mean that in a good way.)"

    Y'know who wrote that? I did, on a friend's blog back in January, 2007. Reading it now (as well as your all-american post) has me drooling and hungry!

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  17. Aaaaaaarl yum burgers and whipped cream.

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  18. oooooooooo.......a rare, bloody burger requiring three napkins, and a shirt change. My kind of food!

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  19. tess, i'll eat anything - except brussel sprouts. but i would place a premium on a hamburger and poutine. (french fries, cheese curds and gravy). steven

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  20. I wholeheartedly agree with you about the taste of these kinds of food. That burger looks big enough to be a whole days worth of calories. And those fries!!!What can be better??? I, too, love to dunk in ketchup. And a good old fashioned milk shake? I would LOVE to find a place that makes one from scratch with no phony ice cream taste. Just good old fashioned ice cream. YUM!

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  21. Working in a burger joint as a kid
    I used to whip up special ones just
    for me; the pineapple cheeseburger
    was not bad, but the hot fudge
    burger was a misalignment of tastes.
    In LA, in the 70's, near Beverly Hills,
    there is an outdoor burger joint
    called Fat Burger: the burger of your
    dreams! People would stand on line
    to order and then just eat them standing
    up. They gave out two paper towels
    to keep the grease off your tie or blouse.

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  22. Willow,
    Burger and fries certainly embodies the term all American.
    Traditional Thanksgiving dinner comes in at a close second.
    rel

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  23. Get thee behind me, Tess -- oh, that burger and those fries...

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  24. I am now going to take a burger out of the freezer and cook it - something I never do! Just looking at those pictures reminded me that I have some and to hell with it! no fried though! How do you keep your figure???

    That film is on my list from now.

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  25. Catalyst, I'm intrigued by spritzing the burgers with red wine while cooking. Now this is something I must try!

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  26. Great post!!!And so tasty too!

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  27. I have heard that that film is excellent, but I haven't seen it.

    And, I want that burger!

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  28. Just looking at those fries put 5 unneeded pounds on me:) It is probably a good thing that I don't live too near Columbus:)

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  29. Tess Kincaid! Dammmit, now you've gone and DONE it...my Mommie says I'm not allowed to read your blog any more. But don't worry--I take my lapper under the bed and we re-read all your postings again and again. So, a big thank you (burp!) and PEACE!

    Does anyone remember (on radio, c. late 30's) a show "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy"? 5 days a week at 5:30 PM just before Captain Midnight at 5:45 PM

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  30. Oops, sorry Steve, I didn't do it on purpose. xx

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  31. I will search for the movie. It’s too late for the all American Food tonight.

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  32. Tess,
    This all-american post only adds to the excitement this all-american girl has about coming home after nine years!!! Sixty-one days and counting.....

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  33. You midwestern gals know a good burger when you see one!
    I just saw this movie last week!! I was dozing off and then woke up and it was just coming on. I was fascinated...although I fell asleep again...I think it was the middle of the night. Not sure. I'm glad to know it's available cause I'd love to see the entire film.
    Catherine

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  34. Those photos made my mouth water. I've never seen that movie but will add it to my Netflix list. I swear you've recommended half the movies I've seen of late!

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  35. Love your pictures, excellent work, Willow! :-)

    I shall add Elia Kazan's movie to my wish list, thank you for the tip!

    For a moment I thought you were talking about Ethan Canin's novel "America, America" - a book well worth reading.

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  36. I have a mental picture of an all American as being one of two extremes...slob or sophistication personified. I wonder how an American would defend or describe a middle American.

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  37. At long last you have got around to the kind of food I like. And why can't the rest of the world make burgers the way American's do. Looking forward to sampling them again soon.

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  38. think i know what i doing for lunch today!

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  39. I like a hit of this kind of food once in awhile myself between the tofu and the quinoa. LOL.

    The film sounds great and the face on the cover...most handsome.

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  40. Ken, you've brought up an excellent point. There are times when I refuse to be categorized as "middle American".

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  43. love the new look! the photo of that milkshake with whipped cream and cherry on top made me want to climb right in.

    all-american, unfortunately, has also been used as code for excluding some folk. see sarah palin and others.

    but why bring politics into this? better to just enjoy good company, a great movie and a yummy heartland meal.

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  44. Angella, I like to think of our country as an all-American melting pot. It's the beauty of America, as portrayed in Elia Kazan's story of immigration, which I promote in this post.

    Personally, I loathe Sarah Palin. This post has nothing to do with her, or her party.

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  45. Why is it, Tess, that everything which is absolutely delicious to eat is also unhealthy. It is not fair.

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  46. I could go for indulging in all that today. All-American indeed. If you look at the size of most of us Americans, you'd know why it's called that. Haaaa! I have no will-power: if that was in front of me today, I'd wolf it down.

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  47. now you are making me feel hungry!

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  48. Tess, it's sad that the term all-American has other echoes because of a certain type of politics, but I know those other echoes have nothing to do with this post, or you. The post and its intent, shine.

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  50. I miss a good all American milkshake, my favourite being the date shakes we used to always stop and get when crossing the California desert.

    French fries are called 'friet' in Holland and simply 'patat' in French speaking Belgium and France, which makes me suspect that this special way of frying them may have come to America by way of the immigrating French. What do you think? In any case, we in Holland typically eat our friet with mayonaise, and some brave souls with peanut sauce.

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  51. Peanut sauce sounds wonderful, but I'm afraid they just wouldn't be the same without my quintessential puddle of ketchup!

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  52. ah another great film you've recommended that I haven't seen... and I consider myself quite a film buff... so this is one for me and The Viking... and as for the burgers, well... genius comes in small round buns right?... and dont forget the onion rings?

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  53. Definitely, an All American meal! I love it! Only one thing missing...Where is your "puddle" of ketchup?
    I like the sound of America, America!
    I received a postcard from Finishing Line Press! Can hardly wait for my book!

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  54. I see you are reading Jane Kenyon. Which is your favorite?
    I'd join your for a milk shake, if milk were still kind to me...

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  55. Haha. I snapped the shots before I gave the ketchup bottle a couple of brisk shakes!

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  56. Leslie, so far, my favorite Kenyon poem is "Insomnia".

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  57. In Oklahoma City there was a charcoal grill hamburger place called the Split T. I liked the Theta Special which had mayonnaise, dill pickles and BBQ sauce. Sounds weird but tastes great. I still like my burgers that way.

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  58. Having read all the comments I had to come back and say that there is a particular burger chain in this country about which I have always said that you'd get food poisoning just walking past it!!

    I never did cook that burger!

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  59. The Graffiti burger, fries, and shake look delicious! A frozen patty is never as good as a fresh one.

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  60. You never disappoint! But I think I've figured you out, like the comedian, he says your hometown for a surefire round of applause, and you....burger and fries. Loved your post, always a delight.

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  61. Thanks Tess, MOTH & I have gone back on the Biggest Loser No Fat Ever Again diet this week!! In the good old days before MOTH's cholesterol levels rose to that of a result incompatible to human life, I always added 4 slices of really good Italian pancetta finely diced into the uncooked hamburger mixture. Do try it, it's divine, hamburgers at The Manor will never be the same again!
    Millie x

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  62. I want to find America, America. Then I'll send my "salute," --that report that happens at the very end of the best of fireworks.

    As to American fare, my second father, the chef Louis Szathmary, from Chicago (gone now for ten years or more, God I miss him)...he totally agreed with you that the burger is the epitome of what is truly American cuisine.

    Promise to send it back and I'll find his little book with his hand done illustration to include a few drops of paint as I recall, all about the burger.

    Thanks Tess

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  63. we have a great place in this little town. not much on looks but it makes the best hamburgers.

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  64. In the sixties my cholesteral was through the roof. Now my doc can't believe it is so low. Change of eating habits.
    But viewing habits is harder. "There are no big stars in this movie, but the acting is stellar. The unknown faces give it a raw and powerfully real quality".
    I must admit I choose the rare movie I see by the "if Anthony Hopkins is in it, it must be good" syndrome.
    But you are right. Good actors with unknown faces do help us 'suspend disbelief"!

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  65. that is so well put. I am totally with you. Nothing to me beats a good juicy burger. Yumm. :)

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)