I walked to Dinah’s Fried Chicken for lunch; I figured I’d need the exercise to make up for the eating I was about to do. I grew up on the edge of the South, and sometimes right in it, and Dinah’s made me feel wonderfully comfortable and happy. Everything that is charming about southern decorating is crammed into this one room.
-Red walls and wooden tables, pretty wooden chairs, ceramic chickens and pictures of chickens everywhere. Painted along the top of the wall are pictures of open windows with flowerpots, which should be corny but somehow isn’t at all.
-I got two pieces of fried chicken, dark meat, and corn on the cob. It took a good deal of effort to not get mashed potatoes, but I did it. Everything is exactly perfect, down to the dinner roll. My Grandmom Ginna (who was a good cook if nothing else) could have made this dinner.
-The men at the next table are looking at the menu and trying to decide what gizzards might be. I don’t know why they don’t just ask the waitress. Or me.
-I inadvertently sat right under the AC and it’s very cold. Don’t they know it’s supposed to be hot and humid outside, with a fan blowing through the screen door to cool things down inside? It’s the one detail they got wrong.
-There’s a big thing of lemonade on the counter. Oh man I want that lemonade. It would make me sick–I can’t do sugar–but I want it like crazy. I also want all of the pies in the display case by the door. All of them.
-There are signs on the bathroom doors, painted wood with pictures of a rooster on one and a hen on the other. They’re adorable. In the women’s room there’s a picture of chicks around a toilet and that rhyme, you know the one I’m not going to quote it, about being a “sweetie” and cleaning up after yourself. I find this less than adorable, but I’m kind of a prude when it comes to certain bathroom-related things.
-You get a free soda if you post a picture of your meal to Facebook. I don’t drink soda and I’m not much of one to post pictures of my food, but this strikes me as a very good idea. No one could see this food and not want to drive over at once.
-The song California Girls is playing. This song always confused me when I was a kid. He lists all these great girls in various places, and then wishes they were all California girls… I thought he meant he wished they would come to California so he wouldn’t have to travel to see them. Of course now I’m grown up and understand.
-The place is really covered with pictures of chickens, and I just realized I’m wearing a shirt with a picture of a chicken on it. I wonder if they think I did that on purpose? Because I didn’t.
-A little girl at the next table keeps asking where Grandma is. I hope this is a grandma-is-late-for-lunch situation, rather than a you’re-too-young-for-the-horrible-truth situation.
-When I was a kid I was in total awe of the way my mom ate corn-on-the-cob, so that when it was done there were four perfectly flat sides with sharp corners. I couldn’t understand how she managed it. I am shocked to realize that that’s exactly what my finished cob looks like now. I still don’t know how it’s done, it just happened.
What I Ate: Fried chicken (dark meat), corn on the cob, one dinner roll.
What I Read: Finished Death of a Demon, by Rex Stout, one in a collection of short stories about the great detective Nero Wolfe. I really could not love these stories more. I’m glad he wrote so many; my plan is that by the time I’ve read all of them I’ll have forgotten the first ones and can start over.
What Sort of Ghost I’d Expect to Find if I Believed in Ghosts Which I do Not: A pretty Southern girl who came here to try and make it big in Hollywood; she’d visit Dinah’s as often as she could because she was so homesick, and they were kind to her.
4106 San Fernando Road Glendale, CA 91204