Day 179: Just sandwiches

I hardly ever make sandwiches, but when I do, it’s mostly because it makes me feel like a good and competent wife feeding one to Mike, the way my Grandma made a sandwich for my Grandad every day for lunch, or at least every day that I was in their presence. She’d feed it to him at the head of the table in the windowed dining room looking out onto the Detroit river (they lived in Windsor), where occasionally a freighter would go by and we’d all scramble to get out the binoculars and smokestack guidebook to help us identify where it had come from. Sometimes he’d have it at the glass table in the kitchen, which they bought so they could see who (of my mom and her 4 brothers) was kicking whom under the table. Each time he’d say “thanks Mad” without looking up from his sandwich, and we thought it was totally hilarious that he called her “Mad” (short for Madelon).

Mostly they were tomato and/or onion or salmon sandwiches on buttered bread, which he would dip into a shallow bowl of vinegar – he said when you got to be ninety, your tastebuds needed a little help. Tonights’ were made with roasted Mediterranean chicken from the deli, with some havarti, tomatoes, lettuce, light mayo and lots of pepper; every time I have a sandwich like this, which seems too boring to bother with, I remember how much I love them, especially on grainy bread.

W asked for Raisin Bran again. (I’m glad he likes it; when I was a kid, all we would get was Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Shreddies and Muffets, and I fantasized about Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops and Corn Pops, which we only got little boxes of when we went camping. When we were at Grandma’s though, she’d have Harvest Crunch, which was the best, even though she made us cut it with Special K. To this day it has to be Special K and Harvest Crunch.)

While I have your attention, I’d like to know, please, what is going on with my rhubarb. How is it that I am completely and utterly unable to successfully grow what is essentially a weed that requires no maintenance nor a green thumb? My neighbor pulled out an unwanted rhubarb plant last year, and the thing thrived in the back alley beside the garbage bin, roots fully exposed, for an entire season. And here mine, planted nicely beside the deck in semi-sun and the protective bosom of a loving family, refuses to thrive. The stalks are pencil-thin (and pencil-long), depressed looking, and mostly green. (I’ve also killed my basil, but my peas seem to be doing very well.) Down the alley there is a plant almost as tall as me with leaves you could wear as a sarong. Up the hill, A’s rhubarb is lovely and full, thick as three-ply celery and ruby red, and you can pick more than you can carry without making the slightest dent in one plant. So long as she allows access to her rhubarb everything will be OK, but I’d still like to pick my own outside my back door.



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13 comments on “Day 179: Just sandwiches

  1. Theresa
    June 27, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Sorry to ask…..
    Is John Cusack responsible??

  2. Kathy
    June 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm

    When I was growing up, we had a huge rhubarb plant that thrived despite the “watering” by the farm dogs. It was in full sun, had plenty of space to grow and was well-watered by the rain. In our little city garden, I finally convinced my husband that the rhubarb plant under the apple tree would do better with more space. I am very happy with the results we’ve had.
    P.S. Your sandwiches are making me hungry, I’ll have to have a midnight snack! 🙂

  3. Artemesia
    June 27, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I feel your pain about the rhubarb. You’re not alone. Instead of growing thick red stalks this year, mine grew one huge central stalk with a bunch of tiny white flowers on it. No red stalks to eat at all. I’m crushed. Chalk it up to global warming??

  4. Pat from WIndsor
    June 28, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Ah, a walk down memory lane! I remember sitting in your grandparents kitchen and dining room, eating a sandwich with your mom. Their place was my second home. I can’t drive by their house without a flood of wonderful memories washing over me!

  5. Lisa
    June 28, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Is that a newly planted patch or has it been there for awhile? Rhuburb does need dividing or moving about every 6 years. If it’s been there for awhile, you might want to try moving it!

  6. JulieVR
    June 28, 2008 at 8:45 am

    It has been there since we bought the house, so two summers and I’m sure longer, but the one we moved last year looks exactly the same!

  7. Jan
    June 28, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Rhubarb is a heavy feeder. I put manure and compost around my plant every year. Don’t take stems the first year and only a few the second year so the root can get well established. Rhubarb prefers full sun. Hope this helps.

  8. Dana McCauley
    June 28, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Great looking sandwich and an even better story!

    I am a big fan of sandwiches. In fact, I think I could eat one every day at least onc a day if I weren’t such a fatty four eyes. Sigh. (ignore me. I’ve been dieting all week and self pity has set in.)

  9. sue.d
    June 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    about that rhubarb, my mum-in-law was just telling me that mushroom manure is exactly the thing for pencilley rhubarb. Smelly, but worth a shot maybe?

  10. JulieVR
    June 28, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Mushroom manure? Do mushrooms poop?

  11. Lisa
    June 29, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I’ve heard great things about mushroom manure too (it’s what the mushrooms grow in)! I know the mushroom farm up near Airdrie will sell it, but maybe only a few times a year? Not sure. A google search might help you out!

  12. Dorothy
    July 9, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    You didn’t do anything to your basil, Calgary’s weather did. More precisely the heavy rains we received in June probably drowned it. I plant basil from seed every year and in cooler wet years I have virtually none. In hot dry years I have an overabundance (if that is truly possible!). Basil likes full sun and dry roots if that is any help.

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