Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Sandwich Strike

So perhaps a little background...This post will likely be of little use to anyone, unless you have a husband as picky refined as mine. But this is the story of how I came to make Brian's lunches, again. After an 8 year strike. And the details of one of our most dramatic moments, which is somewhat laughable, and might give you an indication of how tame/(hilarious?) our "fights/arguments" are.

I am from a large (& thrifty) family. Sandwiches consisted of smearing tuna on the bread, done. 1 tin...probably 4 or more sandwiches. I don't know the rules when Brian was growing up...but now, for him, 1 tin = 1 sandwich. I lay out 1 or 2 slices of meat on the bread, he piles on half a pound. Not joking. So there is the background in the difference of our perspective in sandwich making.

I try to "do more" for him while not going way over the top, only because I think it's just kind of a waste of money to use that much expensive food on one sandwich.

The scene: Summer of 2004. Brian, at the time, was a roofer, and working on the roof of the church that we would soon come to attend and love. I had the day off from Linens N Things, and I had a job interview at CBN, which was right across the street from the church. Our lunch and sandwich battles were well established by then. We did not have a lot of money for eating out. He doesn't like/doesn't plan time to make his own lunch. We couldn't figure out a way to keep the sandwiches "good" come lunch time (soggy bread issues etc). I would make the lunch, but not put enough meat on it. Issues.

So this day, I thought I would bring him his lunch. It would be freshly made and delicious! Making the sandwich, I realized we were almost out of meat, but there was enough, in my estimation. 4 slices of roasted turkey lunch meat, from a "package" so not the largest slices known to man, but I thought it looked acceptable, so I used it all up.

I pulled into the church parking lot, and he saw the car and came running over.

"What are you doing here?"
"I had my appointment at CBN, so I thought I'd bring you lunch", as I handed over the bag.
He was obviously hungry, as he tore into it right away. He took a big bite of the sandwich and said...

"Coulda put a little meat on here"

I stared at him, aghast - I think my jaw literally dropped - I didn't even say a word. I spun around, hopped in my car, and drove away.

You have to know the layout of Avalon Hills in proximity to the highway to fully appreciate the hilarity of the next detail...but it was sort of like storming off...and having to do so for a mile while being watched. It sort of looses it's dramatic effect. I drove out the parking lot, looped around, and then had to drive the entire length of the parking lot and building again to get to the highway, so he was just standing there, with a bewildered look on his face. And waving at me. A Queen-imitation wave. I sped away.

That night, he came home and said "why'd you leave?" when he walked in the door

"You are the rudest person I know", was my reply. No 'thank you', no 'that was sweet', no 'nothing'. Just a complaint about the food was the FIRST thing. I wasn't angry really, just over it. I explained that I would never make him a sandwich again, as long as I live.

And I kept my word.

Until Fall 2012. I literally never made him a sandwich of any type - even if we were having subs at home for dinner. He can make it himself or he can starve. Either of those options share equal billing with me, I could really care less. He would try to coerce me on occasion, and tell me how good I was at it and everything, but I didn't crack:-) There have even been periods of time when we're short on money and he had to bring his lunch with him, and he had to make it himself. I would pull it all together, but would not make his sandwich. Make it, or starve. It's been a decent mantra, really. I wasn't bitter or rude about it, just steadfast.

We decided last fall that he would not eat out anymore for lunch, to save money, and for health reasons. And I volunteered to end my strike and try my hand yet again at making his sandwich everyday. I must say he has a couple times jokingly criticized the amount of meat, but he knows better than to be serious. Or he'll be making his own for the next 8 years.

I am not in any way touting this tale as my best "I know how to be an excellent Proverbs 31 woman" by the way.

Anyway, he's nicer now. Amazing what 8 years will do to you:-) He compliments me on the yummies, and has thanked me for figuring out how to keep everything "good" - to his high standards.

Here are a few tips we've collected. They might help you out if you have a picky sandwich eater in your midst.

This was today's lunch. I didn't use any Re-Pac bags today, just so I could take a pic, and we could see everything. Normally, lettuce, peas (or similar), and sandwich would be in Re-Pacs. TODAY - Yogurt, apple, snap peas, chips, Naked Juice and the sandwich trimmings - basil, sliced tomato, mayo. He also has a Nalgene bottle he takes with tap water in it.
You may notice everything is "not together". I don't actually make his sandwiches. He assembles them when he is ready to eat. This keeps everything fresh, nothing gets soggy, etc. I put the meat on the bread, and that is it. The downside is excessive "baggie use", but the Re-Pacs help with that a lot.
When tuna is for lunch, I mix it with mayo, celery, etc, and put it in this container. He spreads on bread to eat and adds the lettuce etc at that time.
Notice the mayo packets? Of course, he will only eat Hellman's mayo. So guess what I found? Back in Sept I ordered these little packets online. Of "real" mayo. I think it was a restaurant supply store or something, because we have enough mayo to last us for about 3 years worth of sandwiches!! I store them in this massive basket on my pantry shelves. If I ever run out of mayo for a recipe, I know I can just squeeze out a few of these as my backup, and they'll never be missed.
A tip - a real issue here, and possibly this is only "here"...because it is very hot, and the lunch cooler sits in his very hot truck all morning until the ice packs start to melt, and condensate, and make everything wet, mushy, and gross. Ruins bread, even through its plastic etc.

Well, I saw this tip on Pinterest, and it works! You put your ice packs in a ziploc bag, along with a clean dry sponge. As the ice pack melts and produces condensation, the sponge soaks it up! Just put the whole thing back in the freezer to re-freeze every night, and back in the cooler in the morning. So in my freezer when you see ziplocs full of ice packs and sponges, you know why;-) We're not crazy, we're smart!
in the lunch pic above the ice pack is sitting on it's yellow sponge:-) This one I pulled out of my freezer for a pic
Another tip...I do this a lot actually. When I buy something, especially if I bought it in bulk, I Sharpie details onto the packaging. In this case, I bought 500 brand name Ziploc bags from Costco on Dec 19, 2012. They were 7.99, making them .01598 per bag, which is cheaper here, than Great Value brand for the same size. I write the info on each box (500 came in 4 boxes), that way when I run out I know what I got, and how much it was, and can compare when re-buying if prices have changed. I do this for things I don't buy often (or thing that will take a long time to consume, like the ziplocs). The date is helpful too, because I will know how long it took me to use them all up, which helps with budgeting.
Sometimes instead of buying the little bags of chips, I get regular bags and make my own "small ones" using ziplocs. I trap lots of air in the bags on purpose to help cushion them and it works well, and is cheaper than buying the smaller chip bags.

There you have it! Tips to help even the most particular lunch eaters!

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