Back in April and May, I took a trip down Route 66 (totally got my kicks).  I met some nice people and saw some awesome stuff, but the one thing I did a lot of was eat.  Keep in mind, this is basically where fast food is king and since I was interviewing a lot of business owners down Route 66, everyone wanted to treat me to fries or a cozy dog or a pony shoe.  What is a pony shoe you may ask?  We’ll get there…

Anyway, lets start with a new take on an old favorite: pizza.  I actually spent half of my time doing the “pizza survey” – basically I asked people to describe things to me and listen to how they say certain words.  What can I say, I’m a linguist, I listen for people’s vowels.  Anyway, along the way, I was introduced to a variety of pizza I didn’t know was a thing: St. Louis pizza.  Apparently, it is very flat and doughy, but not quite Chicago style depth (and it doesn’t have the giant layer of tomato sauce frequently found on Chicago style).  Anyway, it was good, and I took a picture of some as evidence:

Next we have Doc’s Soda Fountain, which used to be Deck’s Pharmacy.  The original owner and his sons who took over were all pharmacists.  Another couple recently bought it out and it’s now a restaurant and touristy stop.  Here’s the front window display:

The one thing I had here was homemade vanilla coke from a hundred-year-old soda fountain and oh my goodness, it was delicious!  I don’t drink a lot of soda, but I downed that thing on the way to my next stop, Hallie’s Lunch Box in Lincoln, IL.  Here’s the store front:

And here is where I had the pony shoe.  Hallie’s makes both horse shoes and pony shoes (I bet you can guess which is bigger).  So, I ended up getting a pony shoe, which was basically an open-faced sandwich with schnitzel (breaded and fried tenderloin) and fries on top and a cheese sauce covering the whole thing.  Heart attack on a plate.

I ate maybe a quarter or third of this and felt like I was not getting up for days.  Thank goodness I was driving and not walking or I don’t think I would have been able to go on.

Anyway, that’s all the food I got pictures of.  But my cozy dog (corn dog) in Springfield was absolutely delightful and the guy I talked to was right, fries dipped in vinegar was a good idea.  That’s what the first picture is of at the top, the sign for the Cozy Dog.  Speaking of the people, I must say I have never met a kinder group of strangers than those I met on this trip.  They all gladly talked to me and graciously allowed me to tape them and even gave me free food and drink almost everywhere I went!  Well, I left a little something under the plate for them because I couldn’t just dine and dash…  It made my research a ton easier and that’s how I ended up recording interviews with 22 different people in a week.  So, I highly recommend going to these places and talking to the locals, they’re great.

Thus ends the story of how I ate my way through central Illinois, or how I gained 10 pounds in a week…