June 12, 2008

Americana Two

The plates are from Howard Johnsons, which was big in New England in the 1950s and 60s. It was, in fact, one of the first franchise operations (not McDonalds, which wasn't known for franchising but for automation of food preparation). I have a Hojo menu also (steak dinner: $1.75). Hojos was one of the first ice cream vendors to venture into flavors other than vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and used more fat in the preparation of its ice cream (the magic ingredient in premium ice cream). It was one of the first roadside restaurants, with a recognizable orange roof and the Pieman sign, the logo of which is on my dishes. My family was poor, and so we maybe ate out three times a year then, although there weren't that many restaurants either, so it wasn't as if we were missing much, although I do recall that we would go out and get a grinder sometimes, wrapped in greasy paper, or a fifty-cent stuffed quahog with linguica (points if you know what those are) and bring them home.
If we went on a trip to see the grandparents in Vermont or New Jersey, generally we ate a picnic lunch in the car, packed by my mother, but sometimes we'd stop at Hojos and have a "grilled-in-butter frankfort" or a plate of fried clams. Hojos was famous for its clams, and ordering them was sort of bizarre, considering that we lived in an area known for fresh fried clam plates, the clams served with the bellies attached. Hojo's clams were frozen, and were strips. Heresy. Even though we didn't eat out much, I do remember that we went out for ice cream quite a bit. I remember what a thrill it was to eat there, and the big decision between the hot dog and the clams, although they served a lot of other things too. I wonder if it really was good, or if it was just the thrill of eating something my mother hadn't managed to boil, broil or poach to death.
Somehow, Hojos lost its way, and its restaurants and hotels closed, and its stock was delisted (I have an old stock certificate). There are some old Hojos buildings around, repurposed into banks and other restaurants like IHOPs. I remarked to Sue when she guessed correctly (we grew up down the road from each other) that eating out has become so routine in our society that it's no longer particularly special.

Here's some progress on Americana.

"Hey Zeke, what are you doing?" "Oh, hi Harry. I'm posing for a sampler."

We're sad this evening to say that a wonderful bunny mom and dad, Bunny Lady and Rabbits' Guy, have lost one of their furry little ones a couple days ago, Stanley of the big fuzzy feet. Our best wishes go to the Houseful of Rabbits.

10 comments:

Anna van Schurman said...

We rarely ate a HoJos (too close to home) but we always had blueberry toasties for breakfast. Those were our favorite. For me corn were second and orange toasties third, but I think those would be reversed for my sister. We ate them almost every day!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

So sorry to hear of a bunny passing. I know they miss him. Love your conversation for the two birds. You are too funny!

Jennifer said...

We had a HoJos in my hometown, and believe it or not, I used to work there for a while. But that place is now gone, razed and replaced my a Circuit City.

Do I get points for knowing that a quahog is a clam and linguica is a sausage? I watch a LOT of FoodTV. :-)

monique said...

Funny bird picture! And what sweet bunnies!!

Barbara said...

OMG, Glenna - Hojo's! What memories. That was also a "necessary" stop on the trips to go see our grandparents when we lived in NH and they lived in Maine. A real slice of childhood, there....

Vonna said...

Love Harry and Zeke....did I get their names right? LOL! CUTE!
And I must say HoJo's was a favorite of our family too. And Glenna...I have to say...eating out is a BIG deal for my family, my DH is a penny pincher and we only go out to eat 'maybe' every other week or once per month. Plus have you ever tried eating out with 4 kids? I don't recommend it..although my children are perfectly mannered (really, they are - in public) I'm a nervous wreak by the end of the meal hoping no one spills their drinks, topples over their plates or pukes. LOL! No kidding...seems like one of my kids is like a coyote, instead of marking their territory with urine, they mark it with vomit. Ok too much info right? LOL!
Anyway eating out is like a HUGE deal to our kids and this weekend we've slated the new Sonic down the road....oh yikes eating in THE CAR!...don't know if I'll be able to make it through that ordeal...

Rabbits' Guy said...

Awww .. thanks for the kind words. We still sure do miss our Stanley, but he is much better off, and so are we.

I knew the sausage .. great on a pizza! Happy Humphry's - that's where we got to go to eat out about once a year. Fries !!!!!

FrecklesandDeb said...

We never had a Howard Johnson's around our town so never knew the joys of such treats. We did have a Sambos until they became politically incorrect and went out of business.

Rabbits' Guy said...

Oh yes .. Sambo's .. I liked that place ... bought some stock in it just before the politcal incorrectness happened!! :<(

Michelle said...

Love your Americana sampler! Sorry to hear about the bunny though.