Chapter 25 - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe'
Dave and I do a lot of road trips and one of our favorite things to do is to stop and eat at diners, cafes and little out of the way places. To some these eateries may look like holes in the wall but to us they speak to small communities and days gone by. Usually the food is good, honest, belly-filling home cooking. There are no frills or frou frous and for us, that is just fine. No, do not put cheese in my cream chipped beef, and I don't need anyone to gussy up my homefries - just onions will do.
When we were growing up there were three well known diners in our hometown. Two have vanished completely and one has been expanded and refurbished. Thankfully it is still a pretty good diner. The ideal diner for me is one that has pies and cakes displayed on the counter, where the waitress is constantly filling up your cup with rich coffee, and if it has a small jukebox on the table, I would call it home. After we left our last diner experience, I started thinking about books which feature an eatery in them, especially the hometown kind. Here are a few of my favorites.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe' by Fannie Flagg - I enjoy almost any book by Fannie Flagg and this was the first one I read by her. This is probably her best known book as it was a movie with Kathy Bates, but as always, the book is better. The story is about two women, Evelyn, dealing with middle age, and Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story.
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler - Abandoned by her husband, Pearl raises three children on her own. After they are grown, Ezra, stays home to look after his mother and to cook for people in his restaurant. The children reunite following a loss and realize they are more alike than different. I love the Tyler's literary style.
The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts - The neon sign was perfect years ago when The Honk and Holler was being built but now, in this little backwater in Oklahoma, it is as worn and tired at the cafe' itself as well as its owner. Caney Paxton, the Vietnam vet who owns it, has his own story as do his eccentric cast of patrons. Little do they know that their lives will change will cold day in December.
The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand - A wanderer, a restaurant owner, and an enigmatic chef are the main characters in this book set in Nantucket. Adrienne needs a job for the summer and decides to take a job at the Blue Bistro in spite of having no experience. The people she meets, the lessons she learns help her move her life forward.
Driftwood Dreams by T.I. Lowe - Josie Slater is stuck in her small coastal town of Sunset Cove. Ever since her mother died she has put aside her dreams of becoming an artist and worked at her father's restaurant. A friend from high school, August Bradford, is back in town and is determined to get Josie into art again. This is part of Lowe's Coastal Carolina series but can be read as a stand alone.
Do you have any favorite books with a diner or restaurant as one of the characters? Let me know.