The Little Man eats almost nothing. Nothing. Snacks and cereal. Carrots and apples, but only the non-squishy apples; if the apples have any squish about them whatsoever, they are immediately rejected, as His Highness does not cotton to mush.
Pretty much from fetus up until this week (age 8), the Little Man has subsisted almost entirely on a diet grounded in the waffle and/or chocolate milk families, with extra attention given to where those families intersect with bacon. Last year we discovered that he enjoys Clif Bars, mushy patty-like foodstuffs eaten primarily by marathoners and, I suspect, zoo animals. They also contain many vitamins, which explains why they taste like a formerly chocolate-ish object that into which someone has physically smushed vitamins with work boots. This was a big development, as it meant, for the first time in his life, he was consuming basically all vitamins from B to Q. Parenting is full of moments where you fully give up on long-held beliefs you thought you were going to keep in place, such as the times I told the 8-year-old things like, ďFinish your Pop-Tarts, and then you can have more bacon.Ē
(There are actually two little men now, and though the older eats like heís on a diet reserved mostly for patients without teeth, the younger one eats as though heís storing up enough to nourish the entire day care.)
Anyway, because of this, itís always an adventure trying out an unfamiliar restaurant, particularly if that restaurant does not offer chicken nuggets. Most restaurants these days offer chicken nuggets, of course, because most restaurants are in America, and, because like most parents, theyíve given up. But now and again you come across one that doesnít offer nuggets of any kind, and that is what happened to us on Sunday.
Happily, we were saved by the bacon dog.
The bacon dog is available at a major national Fast Food Chain whose name Iím not sure I can bring up, but itís like if there were Six Guys and then one of them went off to become an actor. This particular one recently opened in my town, so the Older Little Man hadnít been there before. We had also spent the afternoon on a lively bike ride, so Older Little Man was relatively ravenous, having eaten, in the course of the previous day, something like four Wheat Thins and some sort of organic fruit rope that Iím told is healthy, but itís hard to get through your head that something is good for you when it comes in rope form, especially if your childhood involved buying Super Ropes at high school basketball games, which were 24 feet long and marginally less healthy than actual rope.
And it is genius. Itís an overly indulgent culinary vulgarity, but not in the villainous sense, like that Baconator globule, or whenever a fast food joint invents a burger thatís like a burger sandwiched between two ice cream cones and covered in pickles and chili and an ox or whatever. The bacon dog is not there to laugh at you, to call you names, to become a headline on some nimrod blog. It is there because bacon and hot dogs should be put together. The Older Little Man demolished it in approximately two bites. (The younger Little Man, of course, spent the meal vacuuming up meat, bread, onions, more onions, cheese clumps, more onions, because apparently babies love onions now, an acorn on the ground, and the 3 ounces of bacon that the older Little Man hadnít already shoveled into his face.)
Itís a hot dog, sliced in two. These two slices are laid on one side of the bun. On the other side of the bun are two pieces of bacon. Bacon dog. Have you ever stared at something so simple and wonderful and literally begun smacking yourself that you didnít think of it first? This is what happened to me. Forty-five minutes of staring at a bacon dog at Five Guys, and then I punched myself in the face a few times. This is why we eat at home most of the time now.
Jeff Vrabel is already investing in toddler cholesterol medicine. He can be reached at http://jeffvrabel.com and/or followed at http://twitter.com/jeffvrabel.