I’m sorry I slacked off for a bit last week. I left sunny, blue sky, and 82° Hawaii for sunny, blue sky, and 82° Seattle, and apparently the day I left the storms came to HI and haven’t really let up. As I understand it, Seattle tends to be grey, no? Not last week, it was absolutely glorious- the view of Mt. Rainier was crisp and clear and the sun was shining. It was only my second time away from the kids (the first was in Seattle too, actually, last fall) and I had a wonderful time exploring with my cousin, Uncle Jess (so named by my son- she’s a great sport about it).
While walking through the neighborhood of Madrona, I was excited to come upon a funky little store called Nena’s. I was looking for some little gifty for the babes and as you know, a new book usually fits the bill.
Frank and Ernest, by Seattleite Alexandra Day, of Good Dog, Carl fame.
I am in love with this book. It’s another one originally published in the 80’s that’s been brought back by popular demand- my copy is even signed. I mean, my kids’ copy is even signed.
Our title characters, Frank and Ernest, are two friends (stylish and well-educated apparently, judging by their office, though they are indeed a bear and an elephant) who take out an ad in the paper offering to take care of people’s businesses while they’re out of town. A woman named Sally responds to their ad, asking the two to watch over her brilliant art-deco style diner for a few days.
The two friends begin to research how diners work, and are fascinated by the lingo they come up with.
And of course, this is when the book begins to just shine- and when my kids begin to cackle with glee. As Ernest takes orders, he translates them into diner-speak for Frank in the back, who understands and pulls together the food. It takes a little explaining for the little ones how a hot dog with ketchup and a serving of Jell-O becomes a bow-wow painted red and a nervous pudding, but once they catch on, it’s all systems go. Pancakes with maple syrup and coffee with cream and sugar becomes a stack with Vermont and a blonde with sand. Ham with a potato and cabbage becomes Noah’s boy with Murphy, carrying a wreath. There’s even a dictionary in the back of the book.
I worked in restaurants for several years, my husband even longer (what year is it now?) and I can’t say I’ve ever had this kind of experience. In fairness, I’ve never worked in a diner, mostly just pubs, but how fun would this be??? Do they even talk like this in diners these days or is it just in the movies? Follow that Bird comes to mind…
I might just start in my own kitchen. Maybe in the morning I’ll make wrecked hen fruit and mama on a raft- or scrambled eggs with marmalade on toast to the uninitiated.
What are you having?