I recently read a book called: Life is Good at Grandma’s, written by Stacey Donovan and illustrated by Cary Phillips.. In this book, they talk about Life is good at Grandma’s, because you can check the rules at the door. The book later goes on to talk about how the kitchen is full of your favorite foods, and how only grandma knows how to make your supersecret favorite sandwich.
I cannot be sure about this, but I am almost positive that my grandma’s house is the first place I have ever had a sandwich. In honor of my Grandma’s birthday (happy birthday grandma, you are the best! I love you!) I am writing this blog about how my grandma made my sandwich eating so awesome.
So in my younger days, I was not so adamant about my rules of sandwich making and I did not fully understand the structural and taste elements that went into designing the tasty morsels we call sandwiches. In fact, when I was younger, I would spend months at grandmas house in the summer, and if you ask any of my family, they will tell you I was a cry-berry and sort of a picky eater. I only wanted butter and jelly on an english muffin or a bagel for lunch most of the time. I wanted the bagel toasted, so the butter would melt in, and I would want the jelly piled on pretty thick so it would slop out the sides. How things have changed, huh? But my grandma never complained about making me a butter and jelly on an english muffin, time after time.
As I grew older, I started to see that there were other options of things to put between the carbs… and at Grandma’s house, there was never any shortage of sandwich meats, veggies, sauces, toasters (although you couldn’t use the toaster oven and the microwave at the same time), or sides to go along with your lunch, dinner, or breakfast. There are some constants at Grandma’s house; there are always people at the table, and there is always food in the fridge. Another constant is there are always people in my family eating sandwiches. I remember Mean Steve, my uncle who is not really very mean, staying there for a while and making grilled cheese in the toaster oven. Even at a very young age, I distinctly remember asking him why he did it in the toaster oven.
young jeremy: “Mean Steve? What are you eating?”
mean steve: “A grilled cheese sandwich”
young jeremy: “really? How did you cook it in the toaster oven?”
mean steve: “i buttered it and put it in the toaster oven”
Young jeremy: “why did you do it that way, grandma makes them on the stove”
Mean steve: “it is faster in the toaster oven, and it tastes the same”
young jeremy: “can i have a bite?”
mean steve: “of course, but next time you have to make your own sandwich”
young jeremy: (after taking a small bite) “It tastes better when grandma makes it”
As time went on, and the family continued to grow, the quantity of food in the house grew exponentially. You could have almost any time of bread that you wanted, but you had to go to the locker room freezer to get it, and it looked like the deli counter transplanted itself to the kitchen fridge. If you want pickles, they are in the kitchen fridge, and so are most condiments. The leftovers make it into the kitchen fridge, but if you are trying to hide them, that surely isn’t going to work at grandma’s house. If you want a tomato, you have to go pick one from the tomato plant out front, and if you want sauces, well… depends on if they were salad dressings like vidalia onion sauce, or bbq sauce. Those are sometimes in different spots, but mostly in the fridge with easy access to the kitchen. No matter how long you have the door open for, someone in the house will yell at you to stop wasting energy and close the door, which you will promptly do, only to have the door opened again by another member of the kreiger clan.
So with as many people as were in the house, there were a lot of different meals going on. This led for a lot of creativity from the younger generations, and I am sure a lot of unnecessary expenses for those paying for it. The thing was though, things never spoiled in the fridge…. they just didn’t last that long. My cousins and I used to make sandwiches and smoothies, and come up with all sorts of combinations of things to put between the bread of our sandwiches. My favorite sauce to use is the vidalia onion sauce. it goes really well on pastrami or roast beef, but equally well on turkey, chicken, or even a salad! The toaster oven is often on the fritz, and you have to put things in for 2 cycles… one on dark, and one on super light. Unless of course someone has used it before you, then you just have to stand there and wait until your bread is perfectly browned. If you walk away, someone will either take your bread, or it may be burned. Croissants get removed from the gigantic bag in the freezer and put in the microwave for 33 seconds on high to perfectly thaw them out. I always go with 2 croissants, so that one can be a sandwich and one could be just to eat.
My grandma loves sandwiches too. She is not very picky about her sandwiches, but she will talk about how good they were for a very long time. At any given time, we could have 15 different people eating 15 different sandwiches…. and then the second shift of eating would start! I remember trying to wolf down a turkey and tomato sandwich on a croissant, with a little bit of bbq sauce before going back to work one day… and then I realized that sandwiches were portable, so I made 2 more to take with me. I would let them sit in the hot sun for a few minutes before I ate them all up.
Another thing that my grandma always has is horseradish and mustard. I don’t know where she gets the mustard seeds, but my grandma makes some super hot mustard! The last time I went to her fridge, I was disappointed to find the little jar with the hand written label empty. Hot Mustard was not going to be an option on this sandwich.
So in a tribute to my Grandma, who is the best grandma in the world, I would like to dedicate the sandwich below to her. I love her dearly, and I wish her the happiest birthday anyone could ever have. i love you grandma, and if nobody makes you a sandwich on your birthday, I will make you a special one next time I see you.
Pastrami and roast beef on rye with fresh tomato, sea salt, lettuce, horseradish sauce and some vidalia onion sauce.
I give it an A+, because it was at Grandma’s house!