Signalling in Small-Town Restaurants

I love good food and I love searching for good food. In that vein, I leave you this gem from Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat-Moon, page 26:

…There is one almost infallible way to find honest food at just prices in blue-highway America: count the wall calendars on a cafe.

No calendar: Same as an interstate pit stop.

One calendar: Preprocessed food assembled in New Jersey.

Two calendars: Only if fish trophies present.

Three calendars: Can’t miss the farm-boy breakfasts.

Four calendars: Try the ho-made pie too.

Five calendars: Keep it under your hat, or they’ll franchise.

One time I found a six-calendar cafe in the Ozarks, which served fried chicken, peach pie, and chocolate malts, that left me searching for another ever since. I’ve never seen a secen-calendar place. But old-time travelers– road men in a day when cars had running boards and lunchroom windows said AIR COOLED in blue letters with icicles dripping from the tops — those travelers have told me the golden legends of seven-calendar cafes.


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