I Am Ambivalent About Looting But I Guess If We Pass A Waffle House

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On one hand, private property is the most obvious manifestation of socioeconomic violence, and we cannot have justice without accountability. When denied other avenues of advocacy, smashing up a Starbucks is a direct means of expressing frustration at one’s disenfranchisement and holding the Starbucks corporation accountable for their complicity in gentrification.

On the the other hand, it’s not district managers and shareholders who have to sweep up broken glass and lose wages or tips because of closure. It’s other workers, and we need to be mindful of how these behaviors can be read as a sort of lateral violence, and prevent alienating other workers. Also, not every business is like that Burger King in downtown Oakland with the Occupy sign, and if your solution to class warfare is “torch all businesses, regardless of who owns them” without any critical consciousness around how marginalized business owners getting their shit smashed in as a form of fascism, then you’re a tool.

In between these hands are my pockets, and I want to fill them with Waffle House sauce. Preferably lots of little shiny packets, though if we could take a dispenser, or better yet, the recipe. There are a few copycat blogs and tutorials on how to make it, but I can’t bring myself to use Pinterest as an aid for copyright infringement. It’s like using the Pirate Bay to download anti-fascist documentaries.

Waffle House is in the top 5 things I miss about leaving Arizona. My fiancee brought back some packets from a Waffle House in North Carolina—the risk involved in bringing spicy fluids through TSA can’t be overlooked; she is good and supportive and I love her very much. Another reason I’m not joining in on throwing bricks through the Restoration Hardware is that she and I have a rule of “one-on, one-off” in regards to protests so that one of us is always available to bail the other out, and if we burn it all to the ground there won’t be anything for her to fuck up when it’s her turn. That’s not fair. Relationships should be rooted in mutual justice.

img_0009Waffle House sauce is like a portfolio of photos of pedicured feet; an alien, revolting affect to the un-itiated but an elegant addition to a curated repertoire of indulgence.

This is a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger, eaten in a car outside of a storage unit in Pacheco, CA. We were there to see a wrestling show. The person I’d go to those shows with recently broke up with me—the things I’ll always remember about Pacheco is the wrestler selling 8 x 10’s of himself holding a confederate flag and the mushy, smoky goodness of slathering a cheeseburger with liquid smoke-flavored mayo.

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When my roommate asked if she could have some of my Ramen noodle toss, I asked for a slice of her pizza as a trade. Normally, mayo on pizza would be a cry for help—you really want to eat it with ranch dressing, but you’re not ready yet, and you’re repressed urges are causing you anguish. But Waffle House sauce combines the creaminess of ranch with the heat of hot sauce in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of tomato paste.

I understand concerns around hot mayo. But when I worked at Subway, I had a regular customer who twice a week ordered a meetball sub with mayo. When we started toasting sandwiches, he demanded the mayo be put on before we toasted it. This guy was older than you or I will be when Republicans overturn the Affordable Care Act and privatize medical benefits, leading to our wholly preventable deaths. As I succumb, I will die clinging to the hope that that man is still alive, spreading his secret to an iron constitution and making our species stronger for the next generation.

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Of course I put them on eggs. You can put literally anything on eggs. If you wrote in and said “Jetta, I like chocolate syrup on my eggs” I would be like “hell yeah, fight the system, 8 trillion dead gendarmes”.

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I know, I know: I should put the peanuts in first with the oil, not at the end. Who are you, my cooking instructor? If so: I’m sorry I ghosted you after you offered me an apprenticeship, but I didn’t really know you well enough to trust that you’d know how to handle my experiences being sexually harassed by one of your staff. I think about you every time one of my siu mai explodes in the steamer.

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One of the reasons I’m not a “recipe blog” is that I cook almost exclusively with cast-iron cookware, and a lot of my day-to-day food looks like this. It can’t be helped. We’re in a drought, I’m lazy, and more to the point, I’m lazy, which may account for why I rate condiments on a scale of ubiquity. I don’t think I’ve ever kept tartar sauce in my house, not even when I was a pescetarian—the waste created by pilfering single-serving, non-perishable condiment packets is, at least for me, the lesser evil than the space in my kitchen forfeited to some one-trick pony.

But if I want my politics to grow with my palate, I need to abandon short-game solutions if the long game is within my means. The diversification of tactics being paramount to revolution, I emphatically urge caution and discretion in vandalizing storefronts, and, with great affection and respect for your intent, insist you let me know if the planned protest route takes us by a Waffle House.

I must hold myself accountable to that luscious, decadent chipotle flavor.

Author: Jetta Rae

Founder of Fry Havoc. Can be found on twitter at @jetta_rae

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