We take Ria all the way to Italy for a vacation and her favorite food while we are there is a ham and cheese sandwich (ok, so they call it a tramezzino but it is just a triangular sandwich with a simple filling). I was truly befuddled when she said to me as we are taking in the Roman sights, “Mummy, I love this samwich. Will you make this for me when we get back home? It’s my favorite food in Rome!” How was it possible (did you miss all the other amazing food kiddo?) and don’t I make her this kind of grilled sandwich at home all the time? And then it dawned on me – it’s white bread with the sides cut off. Everyone’s dream come true – the humble sliced white. It’s amazing how we just don’t buy white bread anymore. The only sliced bread she knows is wholewheat, multi-grain, oat, nut and seed etc.
One thing to know about Ria. She’s the world’s slowest eater unless she is starving (which seldom happens). Her teachers have told us that she eats lunch at a snail’s pace, never finishes her (lovingly prepared) food and is too busy being a chatterbox at lunch time. You are telling me? I have spent the past few years coaxing her to eat faster, shouting “EAT” every few minutes, even though it doesn’t help at all. There was a time when three meals took three hours. I should have cut her off but which mother has the heart to say – “You can’t eat anymore, time’s up!” – when you know your child is still hungry or worse still will be hungry again within 30 minutes. For me, this is payback. I was the world’s slowest eater back in the day. I gave my mother so much grief and it is all coming round like it usually does.
Anyway, white bread was bought (whole-grain, fortified kind – I cannot bring myself to buy Wonderbread though one day I promise I will), sides were cut off (I ate them with hummus – we don’t waste food around here) and the ultimate lunchbox hit was born. I used some mayo, cheese (orange cheddar kind – the Italians would not approve) and nitrate-free ham and lightly toasted the sandwich on low heat. Ria ate more than she has ever eaten of any school lunch I have made her thus far. Now the dilemma begins….
“Mummy, if I eat my whole samwich today, can I get more white bread samwiches for lunch?”
“But we have a whole loaf. We have to finish it.”