Kevin Pang has a sweet little slice of Americana in the Tribune, the tale of a coffeeshop in Arlington Heights called Mr Allison’s that’s famous for its ham. It’s one of those pieces where you can tell the writer went in to write one piece and came out with another. The shocking revelation occurs right up front as he’s talking to manager Joanne Puccio:
Puccio has worked at Mr. Allison’s Restaurant for 10 years. It’s your dictionary greasy spoon where diners are all named “Honey.” She oversees waitresses (Heather, Pat, Charity, Jody, Ashley) who take orders with no fuss, and if you’re a regular, they’ll give you grief and a wink.
Puccio is especially enthusiastic in singing the ham’s praises. And yet!
She has never tried the ham.
You can almost hear Bernard Herrmann’s music for Vertigo going off in Pang’s head as the camera dollies in and zooms out at the same time.
“I told her, ‘How can you say the ham tastes good if you’ve never tried it?’ And she’ll say, ‘because thousands of people tell me they love it!’”
Joanne, my dear, do try the ham [Tribune]