“If there is a good side to having been raised on my mother’s cooking, it is that I am unlikely to encounter anything worse. School cafeteria food is a step up. Sandwiches from a vending machine in a rest stop on the Indiana Turnpike are a step up. Mass-produced packaged imitation liverwurst in a plastic tube you can squeeze out like toothpaste is a step up. And hamburgers from Mel’s are two or three steps up.
Mel’s, a couple of blocks from the apartment, has the cheapest hamburgers in town. The fat-to-meat ratio is about 3 to 1, and for a dollar you can have two, in a basket with fries, a soggy pickle, and a large root beer. The airborne grease that soaks into your skin and gets on your glasses is a free extra at no additional charge…”
—Daniel Pinkwater, The Education of Robert Nifkin (1998)