Columnist laments difficulties of multiple sandwich orders

"Take it easy on yourself!" my family suggested. "We've already had a heavy noon meal. How about just a sandwich supper tonight?"

It had been a hot, and particularly busy, weekend with my sons, their wives and the grandkids, so I welcomed their suggestion.

"Good idea," I answered.

Well, putting out bread, butter, mustard, mayonnaise and slicing the cold roast left from noon turned out to be the only "easy" part of "just sandwiches."

I'd lined 18 bread slices across the kitchen counter for the nine of us when the custom orders started coming in.

"Got any sweet pickles?" my older son wanted to know. "Be sure to cut them really thin." His wife added, "No butter on my bread, please. Each tablespoon packs 100 calories, and I'm watching my weight."

My younger son asked if I had bologna, instead of beef. (Not surprising. Bologna has been his meat of choice since he was in diapers.) "And ketchup instead of mustard and dills instead of sweet. Be sure to put the pickles against the ketchupped slice - not against the buttered side because that's where the bologna belongs, remember?"

Yes, I remembered, but wouldn't you think a 40-year-old man would've outgrown that hang-up by now?

His wife added, "I'd prefer my meat plain, please. No bread. I'm watching my weight, too. And while you're at it, do you have any tomatoes? I'd really like it if you'd slice some for me as a side dish."

Granddaughter Karen, 3, announced, "I want a peanut better and jelly sammich." Of course, this brought up a lengthy decision whether the peanut butter was to be crunchy - or creamy - followed by an even longer time of picking out her preferred jelly of choice.

Kristen, Karen's 9-year-old sister, announced her order: "Make my sandwich a submarine, Grandma. On a hot dog bun instead of sliced bread."

Timmy, age 5, piped up: "All's I wants a cup of cocoa."

Lawrence, now on a restricted-potassium diet, needlessly reminded me, "Hold the tomatoes on mine." (Tomatoes and potatoes - especially chips - are no-nos for him.)

As for me, a roast beef sandwich is blah without a bit of horseradish to give it a little zing. However, by the time I'd found a knife to slit that pesky cellophane covering on top, then pliers to remove the cap - only to find a safety seal beneath that yet, which required another tool to get it off - I wished I'd done without - the effort wasn't worth it.

Of course, several family members wanted lettuce and onions added; the rest didn't. Ditto with bread choices - white, wheat or rye.

By the time that meal was ready, I was exhausted mentally and physically. Right then and there, I determined that in the future I'd beware of - and never heed - that loaded, labor-saving phrase, "Take it easy on yourself, just make sandwiches."

I don't know about you, but for me, those eight words are packed with unseen traps that'll leave you far more worn out than if you'd worked on, and served, a four-course meal.

© Copyright 2013 by Isabel Torrey, a King City resident and 40-plus-year columnist.

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