Bay Area’s In-N-Out fanboying should have ended long before vaccine news

When I first visited San Francisco many years ago, a friend took me to In-N-Out Burger as a rite of passage – to show me the real California. I remember thinking it was good. Then she told me to look at the fine print on the boat: “Proverbs 24:16”, which refers to the Bible verse: “For a righteous man falls seven times and gets up; But the wicked are overthrown by calamity. It’s heavy to carry for such soft fries, I thought.

It’s strange how a company so open to its evangelical bent has maintained its popularity in liberal enclaves across California, including the Bay Area, a place often criticized by national media as a liberal dystopia with commie politics. pinko. Since the 1980s, when the company’s second-generation president, Rich Snyder, took charge of In-N-Out from his parents, Esther and Harry Snyder, the worms have been an understated part of the image of Mark. In recent years, billionaire owner Lynsi Snyder, who also founded a militarist ministry dedicated to forming an “army” to wage “spiritual warfare” against demonic entities, added more biblical references to food packaging.

Now, it appears In-N-Out management has refused to enforce the Bay Area counties’ vaccine-proof warrants in their restaurants, which ask establishments with indoor seating. to check vaccination cards. The company’s recent stance on the oppression of vaccination warrants puts everyone who enters restaurants at risk. Vaccine checks are important for indoor meals because COVID-19 is transmitted by aerosols emitted from the mouth: unvaccinated people are much more likely to get sick in these settings, and they are much more likely to do so. get the virus out in their communities from there.

The restaurant management doesn’t care. They don’t care about their workers, and they don’t care about you. Obviously, the company is comfortable with its policies and outsider philosophy, especially since its outspokenness has yet to hurt sales. In 2018, Eric Baumann, leader of the Democratic Party of California called for a boycott of the burger chain after it was revealed in a state deposit that the company donated $ 25,000 to the California Republican Party; the boycott was greeted mostly with shrugs. Technomic research firm estimated that in 2020, the chain achieved more than $ 1 billion in sales, an increase of almost 10% from the previous year.

In-N-Out animal style fries.

SweetBabeeJay / Getty Images / iStockphoto

But I have to ask myself, as a diner who doesn’t want to catch COVID-19 – how is In-N-Out, of all places, worth all this trouble? To be blunt, I can sympathize with people who want to ignore all the abstract, even unethical, elements of a business when the product they are creating is really great. Living your ethic is one of the most impossible things in modern life, and I don’t necessarily want to blame anyone who just wants to buy the things they can afford. I understand, really.

But what’s the deal with In-N-Out Burger? At the elementary level, the food is awful. The fries taste like they were simply bathed in a hot tub of fat rather than fried. They are therefore prepared to order: the effort is a waste. And no, don’t tell me to make them do right, because they just end up with the texture of cardboard. The burger itself, though famously made from chuck of fresh ground beef by In-N-Out’s own butchers, tastes generic. To fix them, you ask to dip these things in a secret sauce – essentially a rebranded Thousand Island dressing – which does nothing to remedy the inherent flaws in the dishes. Perhaps it is the sense of belonging that comes from knowing the items on the “secret menu” and feeling like your favorite order is tailor-made. However, you can literally find the details everywhere you look … even on the official website.

The fact that so many Californians find the whole In-N-Out shtick so appealing is a testament to the fact that sentimentality is irrational. The burger chain has managed to find its way into the hearts of generations of people here; loving In-N-Out, from sweaty fries to paper hats, is really being “from” this place. But California food culture has a lot more to offer than that: roadside taquerias statewide, amazing small-scale burger pop-ups, and healthy, affordable food even in San Francisco. It’s time to deprogram yourself. In-N-Out is zero. To move on.

Soleil Ho is the food critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @hooleil

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