A random comment on Facebook brought this childhood memory to mind recently. We didn’t eat out very often. When we did, it was likely fast food take-out. My mom would occasionally bring home Kentucky Fried Chicken – this was back before they tried to hide the fact that it was all fried by calling it KFC.

She always got an order of livers and gizzards along with the chicken. To this day, I still don’t know what a gizzard is. I just remember that both my brother and I thought they were delicious. We hated the liver though and it was nearly impossible to tell them apart.

Kind of like cherry and cinnamon Jelly Bellies. I love the cherry ones but can’t stand the cinnamon. I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve given up eating red jelly beans if I don’t know for sure there are no cinnamon ones hiding in the mix.

As a child, I was more stubborn with the gizzards. I really wanted them. So I’d carefully study the little nuggets of breaded and fried meat trying to detect the slight difference in color. The livers were darker. I’d compare them until I found one that seemed clearly lighter than the others and then I’d eat it. If it was a liver, I’d freak and try to spit it out. My mother, who loves eating liver, would react badly to such a waste of delicacies.

They don’t even sell livers and gizzards anymore. But back in the day, when eating out was a real treat, if mom opened a bag from KFC, we’d get excited. And my little brother would ask “Did you get some lizards and givers?!”


Bagel Burger

On our way home via a familiar route, my husband noticed that a new eating joint that he had been wanting to try was now open. At the last minute, he quickly turned. “Let’s eat here! I’ve been wanting to try it! I want a bagel burger.”


I glanced at the windows as I put on my shoes. I saw a picture of a hamburger on a regular bun. I saw pictures of donuts, bagels with cream cheese, a salad. No bagel burgers. I began to get suspicious, but the sign did seem to imply the kind of place he was hoping for, so I swallowed my reservations and headed to the door.

Upon entering, I found myself standing in a very typical donut shop, complete with the friendly Asian woman behind the counter. I scanned the menu quickly and saw that there were no bagel burgers. I began to ponder the merits of a croissant sandwich vs. a standard burger, when my husband entered the store.

“I’d like a bagel burger,” he announced to the woman behind the counter.

She stammered, “A bagel? Wait, I think we might be out. Hold on.”

I could tell she hadn’t understood what he asked for but before I could speak up, she returned. “We have a few bagels left. Only plain, blueberry, sesame seed, and wheat.”

“Ok,” he said, undaunted. “I’ll take one on a blueberry bagel.”

“You want a blueberry bagel?”

I started trying to get his attention. My frustration was rising. They were misunderstanding each other and the three children who had spent most of the morning and all of the previous day in the car were beginning to ratchet up the noise.

“Yes, I’d like a bagel burger on a blueberry bagel.”

“Ok. Do you want cream cheese?”

“Honey!” I whispered urgently, “They don’t have bagel burgers. She doesn’t understand what you are ordering.”

“They don’t?”

“No! Do you see bagel burgers anywhere on the menu?!”

“Oh.” He turned to the woman. “Can I get a hamburger but on a bagel?”

After some confusion, she agreed. During all of this, Hal was loudly calling “Daddy! Daddy!” and pulling on the front of his shirt. Daryl was repeatedly asking if he could get a fountain drink. Jane was moaning about how much she didn’t feel good. The woman was having trouble keeping track of everything that was being ordered and communication was sketchy.

I finally walked away and tried to calm down. When I get frustrated, I need things to be input to my brain one at a time. This isn’t possible with three children. Eventually, however, I had my croissant pig-in-a-blanket and bagel with cream cheese, although it took a couple of tries to get the right cream cheese. Jane had her hamburger and fries, while my husband had his on a blueberry bagel. Daryl got a blueberry bagel with cream cheese and a root beer. Hal rejoiced over his breakfast burrito and star-shaped donut with star sprinkles and an Iron Man ring on top.

“We don’t have to come back,” my husband said. “I take it you saw what kind of place it was before we came in.”

“I wasn’t sure or I would have said something but I definitely had my suspicions.”

And that was how we ended up having lunch at a donut shop. Before we left, I had managed to find my smile. But just barely.