I despise peanut butter. Always have, always will (unless aliens come down and completely rearrange my taste buds). From day one I couldn’t stand the stuff, and even the smell of it now drives me insane. Yet when I was young my mother would routinely pack my school lunch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which I would then pawn off on some other youngster jonesing for PB&J when her mother sent her cheese instead.
Of course I was quiet back then, so I don’t quite blame my mother for not getting it straight for me when it came to peanut butter. And help came from the oddest place. My sister, who I don’t think would have ever stood up for me in any other circumstances at the time, decided to use her bold nature to inform my mother in no uncertain terms that her youngest child was trading in his sandwiches. I think it was meant to be a tattle but instead it helped me break that vicious cycle. I mean, even just carrying around the sandwich in my lunch bag was physically repulsive to me.
So, she came to me and asked me what I would like to take instead, and then it was my turn to think. I hadn’t ever considered it possible that I would get to decide so I hadn’t come up with anything. As I wracked my brains for ideas a bevy of possibilities came to mind. Macaroni and cheese on bread. Some type of applesauce and yogurt combination. I even thought about taking soup in a thermos, but I eventually dismissed all of them out of hand.
Then something even better came into my mind. It was at breakfast one day when I had a plain bagel with cream cheese to eat, and while eating it my mom poured a cup of tea with honey in it. As the honey slid from the honey bear into the mug it hit me. Honey was one of the sweetest things, and cream cheese had a bit of a bite to it. What if I put the two together? So I did, and the infamous cream cheese and honey sandwich was born.
And it was good. Amazingly enough, when I spread cream cheese on one slice of bread and honey on the other the results were delectable. It was so delicious I wondered why no one had hit upon the combination before (I since found out that others had indeed previously tried this concoction), so despite my mother and sister going “bleh!” at my lunch I set out for school that first day with a smile on my face. Since then, more often than not, I had that cream cheese and honey sandwich in my lunch bag. Somewhere along the way, though, I did get older and my tastes changed, but I’ve always held a fond place in my heart for that concoction.
Probably about seven years ago, when I had only been teaching for a couple of years, I had lunch duty and told a group of kids about “my” special sandwich. They gave me the patented “bleh” so I told them to try it and then get back to me. Unbeknownst to me, they took it to heart and made a plan among them to surprise me later that week. One day they all showed up with cream cheese and honey sandwiches and I had to laugh out loud. Incredibly, most of them liked it, too, even though they had initially meant the gesture as an opportunity to make fun of my tastes.
See, I got the last laugh. And now I want one of those sandwiches. Off to check the fridge.