Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wimple, Wimple on a Bun

I fell asleep last night thinking about wimples.  This doesn't happen often.

A wimple, for those of you raised in some heathen tradition, is the starched, white linen gadget that nuns used to wear around their head and face, like a Catholic ḥijāb.  Sally Field wore one in The Flying Nun.  Yes, before there was that Academy Award thing and even before Burt Reynolds - but after Gidget, of course - there was Sister Bertrille.  Okay, okay - I watched it some.  There was a period in my young life when I was still confused about some things.  More confused than now, I mean.

Anyway, Sally Fields wore this funky wimple - "funky" was a legitimate word back then - with a couple of giant gull-wing appendages that magically imbued the hot little nun with the gift of flight.  Nobody ever really got the point of all this, but Sally was still Gidget back then, and you could get away with a lot if you were Gidget.  At least with guys you could, despite the fact that the wimple and the rest of the white habit rendered Sally effectively sexless.  Unless you had a hinky little wimple thing going.

So I watched.  Television and sex were simpler in the 70s.  Or the 60's.  But who's counting?

Enter the James Beard Society.  If James Beard was the Pope of Food, then his Society, even today, is the College of Culinary Cardinals.  They might have been the Bishopric of Bon Appetit, but given the state of contemporary priestly society, "Bishopric" carves a bit too close to the bone.

Recently, the JBS decided to name five "Classic American Restaurants."  It's what the JBS does - name things.  It canonized Shady Glen, from my hometown of Manchester, Connecticut.

Shady Glen's glory is its "classic" cheeseburger.  The Glen's original owner, long before Burt Reynolds and even before Gidget, discovered that if you drape three big pieces of cheese over a hamburger while it's grilling, the overhanging cheese crisps up like some God-blessed cheesy potato chip.  As the cheese begins to crackle, the grill man lifts and sculpts it into a soaring, swooping set of wings:  a cheeseburger wimple to make Sally Field jealous.

I have worshiped Shady Glen's cheeseburgers since long before I discovered Gidget.  Girls, after all, come and go.  (Okay, most of them come and go; my wife reads these things.)  But a wimpled Shady Glen burger was, is, and I hope always will be paradise on a bun.  The James Beard Society got it right.




  1. One of my very close friends is a Sister of Mercy and she's ecstatic they finally did away with wimples.

    Now that cheeseburger is another thing.

    I LOVE crispy cheese. The kind that oozes out into the frying pan when you overload the cheese on the bread when you're making grilled cheese sandwiches.

    Shady Glen does it on purpose to make a wimple burger. Very cool indeed, very happy memory time, and very tasty eating.

    Forget the cholesterol, just exercise more.

    1. Wait. Hang on. Your friend is a nun? Does she know about your relationship with Hamilton Beach?

  2. Oh my, that's positively SINFUL that cheeseburger wimple! I haven't I had my lunch yet and the sushi I PLANNED to have can't hold a candle to this...moral dilemma time.

    I couldn't get enough of the Flying Nun back in simpler days...and times were simpler no matter what any knucklehead these days says, what do they know?

    OK, sushi or a cheeseburger, sushi or a cheeseburger?????

    1. I will return to Connecticut this summer, ostensibly to visit family. But...

  3. Of course she knows about my relationship with HB. I use my HB mixer to make the best homemade chocolate cake with butter cream frosting this side of Seattle. I serve it for dessert when Sister comes over for dinner.

  4. All I could think about after reading this was what a windy afternoon in Manchester, Connecticut must be like. Oh the humanity… Those poor unsuspecting people walking out of the Shady Glen about to take a bite of their cheeseburger when suddenly they’re swept up into the air and out over the street. If the burgers weren’t so darn tasty they probably could have dropped them in time, but like the greedy thief who drowned rather than let go of those gold coins in that old movie, they clung to their precious too hard for too long, and were quickly carried high above the city and out to sea.

    If only there were an aerodynamically endowed nun who could rescue them; but alas those good days are behind us. Only in our fondest faded memories would a kindly nun gently guide an inexperienced wimple flyer safely back to earth. Well thanks for the memories Newt. It’s sad to think that I’ll probably never see a flying nun again. Heck it’s hard to even find a streetwalking nun these days… well except for that one who hang around Sunset Boulevard on Fetish Friday’s, but I’m not 100% sure she's a real nun.

    1. Randy, I can always count on you for flights of fancy.