Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives

Published 11:32 am Wednesday, April 20, 2022

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Television is like the old, grey mare. “She ain’t what she used to be.” Most of us have cable or satellite, but even if there are 150 channels to choose from, there is still nothing worth watching. The comedies aren’t funny, I’ve never watched the reality shows, and the news…don’t even get me started on that!

But there is a show that comes on Friday and Saturday nights that I enjoy. It’s entitled Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, also known as Triple D. Its creator and star is Guy Fieri, and it’s on The Food Network. Fieri, supposedly, drives his 1968 red Camaro SS convertible all over the USA visiting mostly Mom and Pop restaurants. Actually, though the Camaro is shown in every episode, it has been shipped by trailer to the particular city that is in the episode.

I’ve always liked cooking shows and these diners, drive-ins, and dives are popular places that the local people just love. It might be a barbecue joint, a pizza place, a hamburger hut, or a service station that has been converted to an eatery and is very popular with the local folks for one or two reasons. One, the food is delicious. Two, the atmosphere is unique. But, food is the most important.

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Although Guy Fieri is not the chef on the show, he is an accomplished chef and an owner of many restaurants in California, his home. Speaking of food and utensils, Fieri was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but has always liked the food business. As a grade school student he sold his “Awesome Pretzels” from a food cart and washed dishes to earn money for a trip to France to study food.

I think he has one of the best jobs in the world. He doesn’t have to watch the bottom line for profit and the only thing he has to do is show up in his Camaro and the owners of the diners, drive-ins, or dives invite him in to eat the dish that is most popular on their menu. I guess, if he has to watch anything, it would be his waist line!

The laid-back atmosphere of the show can be attributed to Fieri. He wears big shirts and shorts and has spiked, blond hair. He says he “wakes up in the morning thinking about food.” I know many people like that.

His smile is natural and he has developed many phrases that he uses to compliment the food that he tastes. He’s liable to say something like, “You could put that on a flip flop and it would taste good.” He says, “I can’t play the guitar, but I can play the griddle.”

The part I like about the show is that Fieri gets to go into the kitchen with the creator of the dish and watch how they work. Most of the places are small and the food is always made from scratch. I’ve always loved to see the chefs on cooking shows, even Julia Child and that voice of hers.

Most of the time, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives features the common food that I like but it is always taken to the next level by the unique personalities that, through the years, have honed their talents and their recipes. It’s surprising how many times Southern cooking is highlighted.

On one episode there was a lady who claimed to have made over three million biscuits in her lifetime. Wonder who’s counting? Her diner is called “Mile-High Biscuit” and there was plenty of specially prepared sausage gravy to smother the biscuits. That’s my kind of eating. As Cajun cook Justin Wilson used to say, “I gar-rown-tee!”