Food Establishments and Bigotry Throughout History

Wednesday found hundreds of thousands of Chick-fil-A and opposite-sex marriage supporters flocking to the restaurant chain for an unofficial Chick-fil-A appreciation day, with long lines flowing out the door, stores selling out of food, and drive-thrus and toilets clogged with emissions. The paying public came out (not literally) to send a message to critics of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy that they support the executive’s opposition to same-sex marriage and enjoy the franchise’s food.

This was not the first time that a food establishment found itself in the epicenter of a cultural firestorm. Throughout America’s turbulent history, its diversity growing pains have been parallel to the proliferation of food in its society. You could say that the country sated its discomfort with equality with a healthy appetite–or unhealthy, if you want to be uppity about it. Or don’t–whatever.

  • 1621: Native Americans, having received a mysterious smoke signal message about a bounty of food, traveled to Plymouth, Massachusetts, and found pilgrims celebrating their yearly harvest  with a feast. The pilgrims opened up their tables to the travelers and gave them parting gifts of blankets infested with smallpox. This was the first recorded Thanksgiving, continuing to this day with the annual tradition of dining with people you dislike and want dead.
  • 1773: Boston’s Sons of Liberty used the Facebook of their day, the horse, to organize December 16 as a day of support for East India Company’s delicious tea, urged to dress as their favorite dead Indian. Historians may have transmitted false information.
  • 1812: American soldiers seize the home of fledgling Canadian blacksmith and fried circular-dough crafter Timothy Horton on suspicion of illegally obtained Brazilian coffee beans. The charges and military rhetoric of Brazilians being “crispy darkies” were later proven false.
  • 1836: The first “Lewis and Clark’s Olde-Tyme Salt Pork Emporium” opens in St. Louis, Missouri. William Clark, the franchise’s owner, holds a grand opening celebration for white landowners. His slaves are forced to work the wood-burning stoves.
  • 1853: Abraham Lincoln holds a speech on slavery at a Peoria, Illinois, Cracker Barrel restaurant. Blacks are discouraged from attending because it is at a place called Cracker Barrel.
  • 1866: The last “Lewis and Clark’s Olde-Tyme Salt Pork Emporium” franchise is destroyed by freed slaves emancipated from the kitchen.
  • 1903: The first pizzeria opens in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood. A rudimentary “NO IRISH” sign is hung on the front door.
  • 1934: Customers organize a protest September 22 at Walter’s Drug Store in Louisville, Kentucky, after owner Walter Kennedy switches soft drink suppliers from Coca-Cola to Pepsi-Cola–synonymous with the “Negroes and their jazz cigarettes.”
  • 1958: Black residents of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, stage a sit-in August 19 at Katz Drug Store based on a scientific study that “Negroes don’t enjoy egg creams.” This was proven true.
  • 1969: A reinvention of Burger King’s mascot as Zululand monarch Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu faces protests at local restaurants from followers of “The Burger King.” Yes, they were white.
  • 1992: The first Taco Bell opens in Mexico City, Mexico. It does not go well.
  • 1993-2011: Humanity gets on okay.
  • 2012: Idiots eat a shit-ton of fatty chicken to protest the potential violation of their book of stories.

4 thoughts on “Food Establishments and Bigotry Throughout History

      1. I can tell. Your posts are always so succinct and well-written. Some of the blogs I read, as much as I like them, make my head hurt because they take 800 words to say what they could have said in 300.


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