…”So now da corn meal gets heated up into dis soup den, and dis is da best part, she gets sucked out down dis here tube to dis here manifold where she gets pushed into dese 10 holes in da wheel here den is fired through and when she hits da cold air temperature on da udder side expands and curls up like a Newfy fart then gets cut up by dis here blade to fall into dis here tray. Each piece here is da same
“Wow” I thought. Unbelievably simple yet effective. Genius really. There they were. Perfect cheezies, slightly curled at both ends to resemble small edible canoe shaped puffs of cheese coloured corn.
“I know, I know what yer tinking.” George was getting excited. “How do dey become orange in colour? Now dis is da second best part.”
He ran over to a third panel, punched two green buttons and all of a sudden this long hollowed out tube like tunnel begins to rotate, somewhat like a cement mixer on a cement truck. On one side are three small chutes and George, overly excited now, pours some salt, oil and orange cheeze powder into these chutes separately.
“Dese mixtures are made up separately” he tells me. Over here in dese tree bins. Marked and labelled, dey are da ready mixed cement? Ha, dat’s a joke, just kidding. You do not do anyting. Dey are made up for you. It’s our secret recipe, trade secret. Just like da Colonel” he beams. He was so full of pride.
“Okay,” I was impressed at the sheer simplicity and effectiveness of this operation
Watching now as the tray holding the individual pieces of cheezies fills then dumps its load into the long tube like barrel. The cheezies seem to fall through the tunnel, up the side walls, falling down again and with the centrifugal force make their way to the end but not before passing through a bath of salts, oil and deep orange liquid cheese, which has been heated to a consistency to allow it to be sprayed all over the insides of that drum. Amazing.
Finally, George, standing at the end with a large and round stiff hard cardboard 45 gallon container with a clear plastic bag insert, where the individual cheezies fell.
“You just stand dere watching da entire operation unfold in front of you. Da nice ting about all of dis is you get to sample da cheezies as dey come off dis unique but magnificent assembly line. You never have to bring in a lunch, I tells ya”
George stayed with me for the entire day, ensuring I knew every aspect of the operation. It was easy: really, really easy. The main ting, thing, was the physicality of lifting and dumping 10 bags of corn meal into the hopper. Everything else ran itself.
George and I just stood at the end of the tunnel filling up those drums with cheezies. We chatted the whole day, chomping away as we talked. He told me about his cousin Bill Gallant, who was married to another distant cousin of his, Gladys Gallant. And a few of his mates, Frank, Raymond and Fred Gallant, who all came to the big city with George to make their fortune, at this Humpty Dumpty potato chip factory?? Or Intercity Truck Lines, or in roofing. Oh yes he told me, most of the shipping and receiving guys here are from his home county, all Gallants. Even the women working the potato assembly lines are Gallants, either by marriage Gallants – or not Gallants, or from away Gallants.
“Man, you have a big family” I told him. He looked at me with a serious and puzzled look on his face.
“Family?? No, no, no we are not family, not related in the least.”
What? Then he told me about some of his friends. There is Bill “Bologna” Gallant. He got his nickname cause he got caught stealing a tube of bologna many, many years ago. The name stuck. There’s Mary “kiss the cod” Gallant. Her dad was a cod fisherman., inshore like. Gerry “the greaser” Gallant cause he worked in a garage with his dad. Then there’s Harry “the foreshore” Gallant cause he worked in a marina back home. Finally Don, “from out of town” Gallant cause his family moved to the county when he was a toddler.
“How long ago was that?” I asked
“About 35 years ago.” He said. “He’s not a homer so the nickname “out of towner” stuck…