Today’s Zippy takes us to the Bluebird (or Blue Bird) Diner in Brooklyn, where you can get a gluten log (or Lotto tickets, candy, cigars, newspapers and magazines, and who knows what else):
From the Forgotten New York site:
Bluebird Diner, Glenwood Road near Utica Avenue, Flatbush, Brooklyn. Trim: Chrome and blue. Built in 1951 by Mountain View.
The Bluebird served nearby major truck routes, Kings Highway and Utica Avenue. It was replaced by the newer Paris Diner by the son of the Bluebird’s owner in 2006.
It now appears to be doing business again as the Bluebird, at the same location. The diner in #1 is much finer than the one in #2; possibly it’s been spiffed up, or Bill Griffith remembers an earlier spiffier version, or maybe he has just improved on the place for a fantasy version. (Perhaps a reader will make an expedition to Flatbush to report on the current diner.)
On to the gluten log — one shape for seitan (NOAD2: a high-protein vegetarian food made from cooked wheat gluten [origin of the name uncertain, though almost surely Japanese]), which serves as a vegetarian meat substitute. Take wheat gluten, yeast, a bit of liquid, and seasonings (paprika is often one of these); form into patties or balls or a loaf or a log; simmer in a broth or bake in the oven; use the result like meat. Here’s a gluten log: whole, sliced, and cubed:
(In any case, this is one of the things you do if you want to create vegetarian food that resembles meat in appearance, mouthfeel, and taste.
The other Bluebird Diner signs (in panel 2). These offer a number of items, but one sign features Optimo cigars — one of many brands of tobacco products marked by Swisher Products.
Ok, with gluten logs and cigars, I guess we’re in the Phallic Zone.