Have you ever been to Anna Mae's Bakery + Restaurant? I love it. I mean really love it. It takes about 2 hours to get there- it's just outside of Stratford in Millbank, Ontario. I salivate the whole 24 hours before I'm there. "A place where friends and family meet, for meat, potato, and dessert to eat!" Cute right? But there is nothing cutesy about this place; it is a serious gastronomic house of goods.
Ruth at Monforte Dairy used to make her cheese in Millbank. After a visit to her dairy, she took us over to Anna Mae's for lunch. Which turned into brunch, dinner and breakfast the next morning. I noticed that everyone around us eating fried chicken. Sweet. I knew exactly what I was having. I scanned the menu, but there was no fried chicken. Not even on the special board. What!? For those of you who know me, you can attest to my shyness and overall awkwardness in social settings. I don't like to ask for directions, talk to people too much or look stupid. Now I had to do all of these things. I started to sweat and then I cried, just a little. I swallowed my pride, nervously cracked my knuckles and then asked the waitress for "the fried chicken, please."
Our waitress was a very sweet older Mennonite lady that had probably been working at Anna Mae's for most of her life. I was thinking of my grandmother when I spoke with her. "No" she said with a smile, "we do not have fried chicken." She was probably laughing on the inside at this poor bridge and tunnel sucker with whom she was toying. She knew exactly what I wanted; the upper hand was all hers. "But we do have broasted chicken." I am a chef. I see fried chicken all around me. I know perfectly well what I want. Not shy anymore, but perplexed that my grandmother is treating me like this, I start to get up from the table. I gingerly take the trickster by the arm, turn her in all directions, showcasing the fried chicken plates and the grease running down everyone's chins and say: "I want that fried chicken please."
Grinning she says, "1 broasted chicken meal, would you like soup or salad with that?" I pride myself on learning one new thing everyday.