Behind the Scenes at Chick-Fil-A

Yum!  Just the sign makes me hungry.

Yum! Just the sign makes me hungry.

My visit to Chick-Fil-A in Madison, Alabama the other night was actually as much fun as the last field trip I took with Princess Buttercup and her class.

I write for a subdivision’s magazine that hosts a free monthly neighborhood night out for the residents and the magazine’s business sponsors.

A group of us met at Chick-Fil-A for food and fun!

We started the night by ordering our food from the menu. After we all finished eating, Callie, a director of the restaurant, passed out Chick-fil-A hats for us to wear.

She passed out packets of sanitizer wipes for us to clean our hands, and then we headed out behind the scenes. This is where the real action of Chick-fil-A begins.

All of the produce is brought in fresh for the day and chopped in the food-prep area. Chick-fil-A chops between 600-700 lemons daily. I usually just order water at restaurants and never noticed that the lemonade was homemade. The ingredients are sugar (or Splenda, if you want sugar-free), water, and lemons. That’s it! We got to try samples in small cups. Delicious!
We learned that the bread is brought in fresh every day by Sarah Lee. Chick-fil-A came up with its own recipe, in fact, and they contracted Sarah Lee to make and deliver it daily.



I also didn’t know that the chicken is—well, real chicken, as opposed to nuggets. Dave, one of the cooks, takes slices of chicken breasts, dunks them in an egg/water bath, and then coats them with the secret ingredient that is locked up tight in a vault somewhere.

Dave then puts the chicken into the “Henny Penny” machine, as the staff calls it. It’s a deep fryer of peanut oil. Chick-fil-A later recycles this oil.

Before leaving behind-the-counter space, we put cones under the ice-cream-cone spigot, and Callie filled our cones.

They handed out chocolate chip cookies and gave us each a stuffed Chick-fil-A cow in a coffee mug as a parting gift.

Did you know that Chick-fil-A basically invented the mall food court?

We all got to take home one of these.

We all got to take home one of these.

Back in the 1960s, Chick-fil-A contacted Greenbrier Mall in Atlanta and suggested that they put a Chick-fil-A in their mall. The food court was born.

All of the Chick-fil-A employees respond, “My pleasure” because S. Truett Cathy was staying at a fine hotel in NYC. He thanked one of the staff members (the bellhop, maybe), who responded, “My pleasure.” Mr. Truett thought it was such a classy reply that he decided to use it at his restaurants.

Incidentally…I’m something of a wordsmith and love picking up new phrases. For the past several years, I’ve also adopted “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome,” because I also think it sounds cultured, a little old-fashioned, and somewhat unique.

We thanked Chick-fil-A for a fun night.

And, as always, they responded:

“My pleasure.”

Behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes.

Note: Photos were taken at a different Chick-Fil-A than the one in Madison.

All work Copyright 2015.

Dreamin’ of the Islands, Mon?

Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida

It was a very pretty 50-degree day today, but yesterday was rather dismal.

Fortunately, our local radio station was kickin’ up some great tunes that brought back memories of beach vacations.

It’s great hearing the calypso and steel drums when it’s cold and drizzly outside.

Here are some of my favorites:

Banana Boat Song (“Day-O”) – Harry Belafonte

Blondie – The Tide is High

Johnny Nash – I Can See Clearly Now

Anything by UB40

Anything by the Beach Boys (especially, Kokomo)

What about you? Which are your favorite songs that take you far from the winter ice?Destin_Florida3Destin_Florida2

Destin, Florida

Destin, Florida

All work Copyright 2015 by Stephanie L. Robertson.

Divorce Rates Higher among Conservative Protestants?


Are divorce rates higher in conservative areas of the U.S.?

It would seem counter-intuitive, but University of Texas sociologist Jennifer Glass and Philip Levchak of the University of Iowa measured this demographic and found that divorce rates are higher among Conservative Protestants, particularly because many of the young adults are marrying younger than their peers who opt to delay marriage.*

Christian Century sites the study: “According to researchers who took into account race, income and other factors, the marriage and fertility trends that are common among conservative Protestants—younger marriage, more kids, less higher education—affect all people in areas most populated by conservative Protestants, no matter their personal religious affiliation.”

• Those who marry younger do not tend to pursue higher education
• Embarrassment for getting marital help
• Marriage is idealized by the young
• Marriage failure is equal to shame
• Fear that best choice in partners will be taken
• Lack of relationship skills in younger adults
• Lack of stable job opportunities

In her article in The Nation, Michelle Goldberg quotes Glass, “Clearly you can’t put people with few relationship skills and few resources together at a really young age and saddle them with children and expect them to survive.”


Let’s be honest. There are all flavors of Protestant Christianity, and not all families have bought in to what it really means to be a Christian. Jesus talked about this throughout His ministry (Matthew 23:27 and Matthew 7:21). True Christianity is expressed in the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

If it’s all about maintaining a facade, kids can see through this hypocrisy.

– – –

Take a deep look into the teaching where you worship.

Are they teaching perfection?

This is impossible.

Just look at the example of King David’s. His family was a mess, yet he was called “a man after God’s own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22)

My family is very blessed to worship at a place that urges transparency.

I’m not saying that sin is condoned.

Not at all. (Romans 6:1)

But our ministers are available to counsel and encourage our families, in a kind, non-judgmental way. For families in need, we have a counselor who can assist.

We have a strong youth group that encourages purity and helps our teens to achieve this wonderful goal.

Our church family is very family-centric, and our members root for each other to succeed.

I highly recommend you finding a similar church program.

If, on the other hand, your place of worship shames its members into obedience…run! (John 8:1-11)

– – –

The American Journal of Sociology study re-enforces what many parents—even conservative parents—are trying to teach our children about waiting to make critical life decisions until they are older.

Marriage can be wonderful, but marriage can be awful. The odds are in our kids’ favor, the longer they wait.

– – –

* Sources:

Divorce rate high in conservative areas. (2014). Christian Century, 131(4), 14.

Goldberg, M. (2014). Christian Marriage, Christian Divorce. Nation, 298(6), 6-8.

– – –
Copyright 2015
Stephanie L. Robertson was a family studies and elementary education major and enjoys writing about topics related to marriage and family life.

Purge, 2015!

straw_hatsOne of my goals for 2015 is to purge, and purge like crazy! I’m not quite as bad as “Hoarders,” but you probably wouldn’t know, just by looking at my house.

4 possible reasons that we keep stuff:

1. We think that we will use it—one day.
2. We’re sentimentally attached to certain objects.
3. We think that we can up-cycle that…thing.
4. We’re crafty and creative.


Solutions for an over-stuffed home:

Will I use this? Maybe one day?

Do you have the mentality of a Great Depression-survivor? I know that I must have, although I’m way too young to have lived in the era. It’s true that we’re in a tough economy, but think about how much that you can make by selling your object and using the money for something else. Like paying off debt.
So take Elsa’s advice: Let it g-o-o-o, Let it go…

Sentimental Stuff.

I’ve kept the silk ivy from “the wedding” for all of the 16 years that Lefty and I have been wed. I have some of Lefty’s dishes from when he was a single guy. (Actually, we still use those, even though they don’t match with the nicer dishes.) I think I’ve got several copies of my college graduation program somewhere in the house.

Grab your camera or phone, and photograph the object. Then you can sell or donate the original.

I can up-cycle this.

Take soup cans, for example. I can paint them and use them for containers for the silk roses that I can’t let go. I’m very much a conservationist. I think, “I know I can find a way that I can up-cycle. I just know it!”

Teachers can be the worst culprits. I had an elementary ed professor that said that she was a pack-rat, always thinking of how something could be used in her classroom.

But ask yourself if you’re really going to upcycle your object. Within the next two weeks. That is, are you going to go on Pinterest to find an idea, buy glue or paint or whatever else that you need for the project, and follow through until completion. If not, recycle, donate, or throw it away.

I’m crafty and creative.

Crafting is so much fun! I start a craft, get frustrated, and desert the project, thinking I’ll get to it later. Like those purple shorts that I tried to sew last summer. I couldn’t get the waist band right, so I set it aside and decided to work on it later. Later never came.

And the drop cloth that I bought at Lowes and thought that I would make cool curtains out of them. And the burlap bags that I bought at Harrison Brothers in Huntsville. And the….
So I hope you’ll join me in 2015 and purge! Purge away! Your family will thank you, and so will those in need who gratefully accept your donations.