Cup Is Half Full

When my kids visit I always want to have breakfast here at the house. With the dogs. And in PJ’s. That’s our all time FAVORITE! Our family loves breakfast foods and it’s tops on our list for meal times together. We do have a few places we frequent for yummy breakfasts, and we’re always game to take guests there. Our favorites are Dune Deck in Manalapan, Flakowitz in Boca Raton, or The Griddle on Spanish River. Each are unique and the grassroots of homespun breakfasts.

Recently when we went to visit our friends who live in the Bahamas—with their gorgeous beaches and views but no airport, no cars, 2 restaurants and one grocery store on their island—we asked them when they hit Florida and are back in their car, what are they jonesin’ for? What’s their favorite thing to do when back in the States? Without skipping a beat, they both said Denny’s… for breakfast! I was instantly speechless. Really?! Denny’s? They were like, “Yup. We love it!”

food memories breakfast diner bahamas gluten free menu coffee cup half full

When I quickly rethought my reaction, I said that I honestly haven’t been there in FOREVER. We’ve had the same Denny’s for 20 years, only 3 miles from my house. Other neighborhood breakfast places have since come and gone, but Denny’s remains open and flourishing. I decided to see for myself, so Mark and I headed to Denny’s for breakfast this past weekend.

And guess what I learned? Denny’s is gluten free as can be with a diverse menu of GF options, and much better than I remembered.

They have a gluten-free English muffin, so I made myself an Egg Sandy on the spot. I had 20 percent of my 80/20 in one meal, but what the heck. It was clean, fast, seemingly of quality ingredients, and I think I may have found a new spot!

The Denny’s response from our Bahamas friends reminds me of when my kids were little and I would ask what was their favorite part of the Fair, or baseball game, and they would say the ice cream, or the hot dogs, or something food related. When we went to dinner with our friend Ralph and their adult son from Oregon, I asked his son what he’s most excited about while visiting Florida and his answer was: Carvel Ice Cream! My mind was thinking: beach walks!!!! However I instantly grasped the concept. Carvel is a childhood favorite. It’s a memory maker that we carry to adulthood. Carvel birthday cakes are almost as good as the ones mom made from scratch.

I get why he loves that. Food is associated with so many wonderful things. It’s a trigger of deeper memories and emotions.

“Emotion and novelty tend to make events more memorable, and those tied in some way with food may make for even more powerful memories. Nearly all human cultures engage in feasting, in which past events or special occurrences are commemorated with an abundance of food. The practice probably began as a means to share temporary excesses of food among large groups of people so that it would not go to waste. Over time, food abundance has become a vehicle for memory enhancement at the cultural level. Feasts serve not only an abundance of food but an abundance of memories.” (Harvard Press, 2012)

I must have made stuffed shells with homemade marinara sauce a thousand times before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It was my go-to party favorite, a holiday tradition, and my specialty. I have many fond memories around it and still make it on special occasions for friends and family, but had to reinvent the wheel when I found out I have Celiac. Now my go-to is meatballs. Doesn’t sound as glamorous, but who cares. We love ’em.

I’m making some new fond food memories now, thanks to Michael and Nancy and their love of America’s Diner. It may not be trendy, upscale or have the uniqueness of local eateries, but it’s “always open, always welcoming and always serving up hearty (gluten free!) diner food along with a mug of fresh hot coffee”… half full. 🙂