To see all posts from my September 2, 2015 visit to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (this is Part Three) click HERE. To see all of the posts from my August/September 2015 trip through New England, click HERE. To see ALL of my “On the Road” posts (going back to 2010), click HERE.
2015 “On the Road” landing page HERE!
At every ballpark I visit, I recruit a designated eater. This individual is tasked with consuming the ballpark cuisine that my gluten-free diet prohibits. At Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, that individual was Mark Basnett.
Mark, an only child born on Christmas Eve, is 12 years old, in seventh grade and lives in Manchester. On the day I met him, the school year had just begun and he was none too happy about it. I think we all know the feeling.
“Trust me, summer is fun,” he said. “When summer’s over it’s like, ‘Boo.’ I don’t want to go back to school.”
Mark, who is autistic, is a regular attendee at Fisher Cats games along with his mom, Kristin. She explained in an email that “He is 12 and typically doesn’t like me around. You know, because I’m Mom.” Accordingly, Mark and I embarked on our designated eating adventures together while Kristin stayed and watched the game from her seat in front of the first base dugout.
I really enjoyed getting to know Mark, and think that you will as well. So, before we move into the meat of the post (so to speak), here are a few facts about Mark.
Favorite Food: Hamburgers “I eat them almost all of summer vacation. They’re my favorite with regular mustard. I hate honey mustard.”
Favorite Drink: Diet Coke “I love it.”
Favorite Restaurant: 99. “It serves good meals.”
Favorite (or at least most unique) Dessert: “One time for Halloween my Mom and Dad and I made a Jolly Rancher sour apple. My Dad melted the Jolly Rancher in a pan. It tasted really good.”
Favorite Movie: Pixels “Because it’s like a real-life video game.”
Favorite Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid “Because it looks hand-drawn. Maybe it is.”
Most Fun Thing He Ever Did: “Go on a Disney cruise. It was in Florida, and it sailed to different places. At the halfway point of the trip it turned around and sailed back.”
Okay, now it’s time to eat. The Fisher Cats have a variety of food choices at their concourse concession stands.
Mark wasn’t too interested in expanding into uncharted food territory and the Fisher Cats’ concessions generally emphasize the staples anyway. So we stuck to the basics, and started with a cheeseburger.
Burgers, after all, are Mark’s favorite food.
A closer look reveals that Mark’s assessment was correct.
“The best cheeseburger is hot sauce and mustard,” Mark elaborated. “But there is no mustard on pizza, because that would be weird.”
Where there’s thunder, there’s lightning. And where’s there’s a cheeseburger, there are fries.
I don’t think that’s weird, Mark. I do the same thing.
I then asked Mark if he was interested in obtaining some dessert. He was.
“Could I have some chocolate chip ice cream? Mom and I once tried to figure it out, how not to spill it, because it was so full.”
That was Mark’s set-up. And here’s the punch line:
“You know what else is gonna be full in 15 minutes or so? This, right here.”
Mark was pointing to his stomach.
So off to the ice cream man it was. The Hood’s ice cream man, specifically. They did not have vanilla chocolate chip ice cream, so Mark had to settle for mint.
Mark, who managed not to spill this oversized offering, said that “the mint is the reason why its minty, and the chocolate chips are the reason that its chocolate chipity.”
And that was it for Mark’s designated eating experience. He thoughtfully insisted on bringing the leftovers to his Mom, explaining that “Now Mom’s kinda gonna be the designated eater.”
And, 12 years old or not, seventh grader or not, he seemed very happy to see her. The feeling was mutual.