WILDER'S WHOLE WORLD: My evolution with fast food

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

Growing up in Sherman, we were frugal – by necessity mostly. And, we didn’t eat out much. We enjoyed the monthly outing to Wyatt’s cafeteria for a birthday, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, but that was it in the early days. And, for most of the time.

Then, I went to college and the world of fast food opened up to me!

Nowadays, fast food has a negative connotation. The marketers have touted their wares as fresher than same ol’ fast food or some such hokum indicating that the other food is frozen and thrown in the microwave oven hours before you get there. Ah, marketing….it has shaped our lives for the past 50 years — and usually not for the better!

Anyway, back in the early days of franchise restaurants, it wasn’t all that bad. Sure, it wasn’t Mom’s cooking, but it was all we had in our daily lives that were becoming increasingly sped up. We didn’t have as much time to cook, so it was easier to stop by McDonald’s and get those burgers for the family.

NOTE: there is a great movie “The Founder” with Michael Keaton as Ray Croc, founder of McDonald’s, and how the fast-food giant came to be. The stuff that man did still amazes me in both good and bad ways!

Sure, I knew of the Sherman joints including the McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box and Wendy’s and Gordon’s Old Fashion Freeze, Griff’s Burger Bar and Bud’s No. 1 and No. 2; and of course, all the places downtown. Yes, these latter examples were more from the previous era, but they still were a faster place to get a meal than at home. (And Mom or Dad didn’t have to cook…)

But it was in college that I discovered Der Weinersnitzel, Scholtzky’s and Taco Villa. I even found Arby’s and its roast beef and cheddar sandwich! I liked burritos and I liked fries, but I never would have put the two together before college. It never entered my culinary mind. No way!

Yet, in Lubbock, I was introduced to the newest delicacy: Going to Taco Villa on a Saturday at lunchtime and ordering burritos and fries. Man, that was some good eating!

I haven’t tried it much since leaving Tech, so maybe it is a college food created for that time in your life when you need a fast meal between classes; and you just can’t decide between Mexican and burgers?!

Well, at least it sounds plausible…

I see Weinersnitzel occasionally in the metroplex, but haven’t eaten at one in decades; and of course, there was a Schlotsky’s in Sherman for years and there is one in Denison now. I still like their Original.

I don’t have any specific stories about any of these places other than to say that I have had my share of fast food in this lifetime as I’m sure many of you have had as well. It has become a staple of our lives over the past half century. It is just always in the background of our daily lives. We can go any time; and we do. And usually, that’s not all bad. It really isn’t ‘bad’ food. Yes, I know it’s not as good as Mom’s or cooking food at home yourself, but it will work when time crunch is a factor.

Today, there are many new entries onto the field of fast food joints such as Whichwich, Chick-fil-a, Panda Express, Freddy’s, Chicken Express and of course, Raisin’ Cane’s, which opened earlier this month in Sherman. I like them all; they are all good at what they do. They are simply trying to find a niche in the marketplace.

Raisin’ Cane’s is a new favorite of mine; we came across it on a school trip with our son to New Orleans about 10 years ago. We literally walked right by it at a mealtime; and were needing food after a long day of travel. None of us had ever heard of Raisin’ Cane’s, but any port in a storm as they say.

And we loved it! Especially the Cane’s sauce, which they should market by itself (if they don’t already). We remembered it and started going to them in the metroplex or any where else we could find one. I almost cried when one opened in McKinney…

And now we have the latest addition to the restaurant landscape in Sherman; and that’s a good thing…

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.