Monday, June 28, 2010
When I was in college at Bethel, our cafeteria gave you choices. Not many, but some. Basically, for every meal, you could choose the "main line" (no heroin). The main line had your average cafeteria food fare, or alternately, you could choose the "bar" (no alcohol). At supper, the bar changed. Sometimes there was a waffle bar, a taco bar, a pasta bar. But at lunch, there was always a sandwich bar. At supper, I weighed my options seriously; at lunch, I didn't even look to see what was in the main line.
Everyday, I carefully constructed a sandwich from the sandwich bar. You could choose between wheat and white bread. The wheat wasn't the nutty, uneven rough bread that I like, so I always went with white. On one slice, I slathered mayonnaise; on the other, mustard. On top of the mustard slice, I layered thin sliced turkey, two slices of Colby-jack cheese and a small handful of barbecue chips.
Smoosh and eat!
Many people looked at me strangely with the whole "chips on your sandwich" thing and I guess I can understand that. I came to the conclusion, though, that this world is made up of two kinds of people: people who "get it," who understand chips on the sandwich and can commiserate with the fact that the chips have to go on the mayonnaise bread and not the mustard bread - and those who don't. That's the way of the world.
Through the years, I have come to accept that there is a certain subtle art to the sandwich. I will never understand why some people are willing to ruin a perfectly good bacon and tomato sandwich with lettuce. Sometimes, simpler is better.
Other times, however, there is nothing quite so pleasing as turkey on brie, garnished with cranberry-pomegranate spread on sourdough.
I am particular about a few things. For instance: never put pickles and banana peppers on the same sandwich, as it provides too much salt. Strong cheeses should be accompanied by bland meats and vice versa.
But no matter how refined my sandwich palate becomes, I am still a fan of turkey and barbecue Lays. It's just how I roll.
So, tonight, when my daughter decided to get creative with the amenable-to-everyone-but-still-minimizing-my-time-in-front-of-the-hot-stove sandwich bar, I decided to let her. Where would I be, I asked myself, if my mother had told me that chips on a sandwich was inappropriate?
Her creation, though (bacon, tomato, apricot, peanut butter and jelly on white, don't hold the mayo) almost turned me off my dinner. As it was a very casual dinner, she had behaved especially well in church this morning and we were only three-fourths of a full family meal, I allowed her to eat in front of the TV. It didn't hurt her case that I would rather eat my own arm than watch that mess be consumed.
"Mmmm... So good. I am a cultinary genius!" she proclaimed after the first bite.
Ten minutes later, it was a different story. "Mommy, can I make a plain peanut butter and jelly?"
"Sure, honey. How far did you get?"
"Far enough, Mommy. Far enough."
She actually got farther than I would have, eating nearly everything that was on the sandwich, with the exception of the bread, most of the apricot and the tomato. She hates tomatoes.
I feel that we are well on our way, however. She may have failed in this experiment, but I have no worries that she, like her mother before her, will grow to be a sandwich weirdo.