I have fond memories of Perkins. In high school, it provided a place for my friends and I to go at night, hang out and drink coffee. Of course, we had to order something else, because at the time they enforced a $3 minimum order. I tried to order 3 pots of coffee for myself, but they didn’t bite. Those of us who were hungry ordered normal food, the rest of us ordered side dishes to get to that $3 mark. But in the grand scheme of things, it was an inexpensive way to have fun while staying out of trouble, something I’m sure our parents appreciated.
In college, Perkins became to the go-to place for going for breakfast, especially if we had family in town. Sure, there are local breakfast establishments that are amazing, but the draw of the chain is that everyone knows what to expect and often has a favorite dish. And really, if you’ve ever eaten breakfast there, you know how much food you can get for not much money – perfect for broke college students.
Then finally, I was in the working world with an hour long lunch break. When going out, we had to select a restaurant with fast service that was nearby. My friend Christine and I always ended up going to Perkins for their bread bowl salads. I always alternated between the chef’s salad and teriyaki chicken salad, both satisfying, both simple and familiar. I was definitely not very adventurous back then when it came to food.
Though those days are long past, I do still experience some lunchtime nostalgia, and throw together either my teriyaki chicken salad or a quick chef’s salad. This week, I had purchased my favorite deli meat (on sale!) and bottled salad dressing to recreate the flavors of my past. And though this isn’t really a recipe, here’s the basic mix I use for my chef’s salad.
3 cups prepackage salad mix or torn romaine leaves
3 ounces deli turkey and/or ham, torn into bite-size pieces
6 cucumber slices
6 grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon shredded parmesan
1-2 tablespoons prepared salad dressing
Layer ingredients, in order, in a large bowl or on a dinner plate.