The Disneyland Sandwich

December 3, 2006 0 By Mike Elek

We were having dinner with some friends, and we got onto the topic of lunch. Their daughter is a big fan of tuna for lunch. Like four days a week for the past three years. The kid can’t get enough of it.

That got me thinking about foods I like and those that I don’t. The “do eat” list is a lot longer than the “don’t eat” list.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like bananas. As I like to say, I’d rather have a car run over my toe (which, by the way, has happened) than eat a banana. It’s the ultimate gag-me food. Because of my dislike for bananas, I also have developed a dislike for other overly sweet and mushy foods — yams, certain types of baked squash, sweet potatoes and gruel.

Well, gruel isn’t like yams or sweet potatoes, but no one eats gruel unless you’re still living in the Middle Ages.

Some foods are easy to skip, because people just don’t put them out any more:

Prunes. Our family once had a visitor — Grandpa Pallas — who loved prunes. I remember smelling the odd-looking wrinkled thing and wondered how anyone could put THAT into their mouth. And the kicker was, he wasn’t even our grandpa. But he sure was regular.

Beets. These came out twice a year in our house, sometimes three. They were served when my mom made the big holiday turkey dinner, and we were expected to eat at least one slice of beets. Purple, sort of crunchy, with a slight pickle-like flavor. Not terrible but not enjoyable. What’s my motivation to want to eat this? Oh yes, the answer is none.

Pomegranates. My brother, Tim, loved these when we were little and living in California. I remember watching him get these, cut them apart and eat the seeds. Never once tried one, and I don’t know why.

Red licorice. I actually used to like these until circa 1977. One day, Tim ate a bag of licorice and then went out drinking beer — a lot of beer — with his buddies. Later that night, he barfed up the beer and little red chunks of licorice all over our bedroom floor. I never really liked licorice after that.

Chewing gum. Makes me sort of nervous. Can’t explain it, but it makes me tense and extremely Type A. And I don’t need any help with that.

Any type of melon. I seem to have developed a bizarre allergy to melons: watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew. If it’s a melon, I regretfully must pass.

And then there’s my mom. You’re thinking, “What’s this thing he has with his mother? It’s unhealthy.” It’s OK, because this one is funny.

When we were growing up, my mom occasionally would invent sandwiches that never existed. And she was always game for trying something new by giving it a novel name. One little boy who lived with us for a while wouldn’t eat beans. However, when my mom or dad started calling it “sneab” — that’s beans spelled backward — he had no problems with that.

Well, back to my mom. Her four most unusual sandwiches:

The Mustard Sandwich. Two slices of bread with a layer of yellow mustard. That’s it. What more could you want? Well, for starters, how about some lunchmeat or cheese, lettuce or anything. Slightly tart, and I’m happy to say that I never got this in my lunchbag. Another kid who lived with us was a fan of the mustard sandwich.

The “Special.” She didn’t actually call it this, because it had no title. Ingredients: peanut butter, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato between two slices of bread. And because my mom was a big fan of mayonnaise, it had a healthy layer of it across the peanut butter. Admittedly, the mix of peanut butter and mayonnaise makes for a memorable experience for your taste buds and one that you won’t forget soon or ever.

The Baked Bean Sandwich. It’s just what it sounds like. No surprises here. Cold baked beans between two slices of bread. I was always sort of lukewarm on this one. I ate it without complaining too much.

The Disneyland Sandwich. This deserves a special place in history, as this could be the most creative yet. Ingredients: Peanut butter, grape jelly, cottage cheese and raisins between two slices of bread, preferably wheat. Now get this — we actually liked this. We liked it so much that when we went to Disneyland, we actually asked the waitress to bring us a Disneyland Sandwich! Yeah — she pretty much stood there with her teeth in her head and a blank stare on her face. I can guarantee that no other kid in America has ever eaten a Disneyland Sandwich.

I’d like to write some more, but I’m a bit hungry, and I need to see if we have any cottage cheese in the refrigerator …