The Frozen North

So Sci opened her Google Reader, and once she got over the seizures induced by realizing she had OVER 600 UNREAD POSTS, got down to business. Here are some of the things you may have missed while Sci was away in the Frozen North:

Scientia Pro Publica
is out, and Neurotopia makes an appearance with the post on neurotransmission. I also recommend a post on raising children and gender roles.
And Abel’s all famous and got quoted on ABC news for his follow-up on the death of Michael Jackson. Unfortunately, no links followed. But still famous.
And the meme is back! The one where people want to know who you are, and why you are looking at them. You should let me know, too. Why are you looking at me? Who are you, anyway!? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!!? STOP STALKING ME!!! 🙂
And there’s another review at Paw-Talk, this time with Janet from Adventures in Ethics and Science, who as usual does an awesome job of talking about animals in research.
Finally, for her 4th of July, Sci actually took a few days of vacation. And by vacation, I mean time away from the internet. Shocking, I know. Instead, Sci took a trip to New York State. And she found out some interesting things about Northern People.

Now, Sci is a southerner by upbringing, though most people, when they meet her, would never know. But she was raised seeing Krispy Kreme and fried okra, and grits were always available on the breakfast table. Not only that, the summers were always frighteningly hot, with heat indexes so high we were warned against going outside at certain times of day. So you can imagine how Sci felt being bundled up in a sweatshirt and pants on the 4th of July. You call that SUMMER?! I call that mid-March!
Sci also saw some rather humorous things that Northerners have taken it into their heads to call “food”. Like this:
What you can behold here is something I was compelled to buy at “Nathan’s Famous”. We were driving along and I saw the sign. “What” inquired the curious Sci, “is Nathan’s Famous FOR?” Turns out it’s hot dogs. But you’d never know from the sign. Just says “famous”. And of course, Sci had to try some, especially when she found out they sold HOT DOG NUGGETS. And they…were terrible. In the way that only fast food can be over-hyped and terrible. Nothing compares to the resigned disappointment of opening your little cardboard thingy and seeing “food” that looks nothing like what they advertise on the sign. This happens with all fast food, wherever you are. It is best to avoid fast food as this feeling of mild disappointment will quickly progress to depression, especially after you taste it.
So what ARE hot dog nuggets? Basically little bite-sized corn dogs. I should have known better. But the fries came with a FRY FORK! Sci did not know that they made these things, and wants some in her silverware set. They suit the grad student eating style well. Some fry forks and some sporks, and you’re all set.
Another thing amusing me about people in the Frozen North:
Iced tea, you call this? No no no no NO. Southerners know. Iced tea must always come from a much re-used gallon milk jug, or from a giant tea dispenser of dubious cleanliness. It must ALSO contain at least one CUP of sugar per gallon of liquid. You “unsweetened” people are not normal.
And finally, where did Sci see these culinary delights?
Nothing says “this rest stop has class” like naming it “Walt Whitman”. I was also amused to find that there was a “Molly Pitcher” rest stop. Presumably others have similar names.
Sci was particularly interested by this concept of the “rest stop”. South of DC, the rest stop is a little building off to the side of the road, where you basically use an ok bathroom and don’t have to feel guilty for not buying anything. The idea of a specifically set aside rest area with little fast food joints and convenience store and gas stations in it was very different. I imagine this has a lot to do with toll roads, but I know in the south this wouldn’t fly for a minute. After all, the only reason you EVER get off I-85 in Podunk, SC, is when you desperately have to use the bathroom, get gas, or are dying of thirst. Since there’s a lot of people out there traveling on I-85, this happens a lot. I am fairly sure that if you installed one of those nice, relatively clean rest stations with a Starbucks in it on I-85 South, half of those little teeny towns would dry up and blow away after their single source of revenue was lost.
Anyway, Sci greatly enjoyed her trip to cooler climes, and now is back on the attack. And she’s not saying the South is any better. Down here, we deep-fry our twinkies. Really really. But she wants to know: what other odd forms of Northern fast food did she miss in her excursion? Don’t worry, I have had a Philly cheesesteak. That, btw, is DELICIOUS. But she’d love to hear of crazy advances in fast food. Does anything compare to deep fried Coca Cola?

4 Responses

  1. They have those types of rest stops (they call them service plazas) on the Florida Turnpike, which is also a toll road.
    Have you heard of the Tornado Potato? I just heard about them on NPR today. It almost makes me want to go to a fair.

  2. but… this is the only time of year that the north ISN’T frozen!

  3. Well, in the Pacific Northwest coastal region the big fast food item is the Jo Jo potato. Potatoes cut in thick lengthwise wedges – often full quarter wedges – dredged in various savory coatings, often just deep fried but should be broasted and served with ranch dressing. Hard to find a convenience store, fast food joint, or gas station that doesn’t have them.

  4. Those “rest stops” you mention are only found in seriously urban areas where they think that not having a multi-level mall puts you in rural territory. The kind you talk about are found up north, but you have to go to rural north (which is admittedly hard to find–try driving a couple–five or six–hours north of Portland, Maine and you’ll get to what is probably the most rural areas of rural north). Clearly you’ve never had school cancelled due to too low temperatures 🙂
    And, if it makes you feel any better, this July 4th wason the chilly side this year.

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