That scene always makes me laugh in empathy for Harry and the waitress, as I’ve dined with my sister who has placed her share of high-maintenance orders. Or, rather, I’ve placed these high-maintenance orders for her when I’ve hit the drive-thru to bring her lunch or called for take-out when she’s come to our house to spend the night. From Steak-N-Shake, she takes her Chili-Mac with extra sauce and meat with a side of chili with no beans. From White Castle, she takes her hamburgers with no pickles and with extra cooked onions. Not extra onions, but onions that have been extra cooked. When ordering Chinese food, she won’t get the hot-and-sour soup unless I ask the order taker if the soup has wood mushrooms. I don’t even know what a wood mushroom is, and the order taker never does either. There aren’t many times at restaurants where her order doesn’t come with some kind of asterisk. If she’s in the car with me now at the drive-thru, I make her lean over me and place her order herself.
Sometimes, I see things in my children that remind me of my sister and it makes me smile. The high-maintenance ordering is not one of them. Luke has to have his hot dog with a little puddle of ketchup for dipping. Jack wants his ketchup on his hot dog. Luke wants his apple whole, peeled, and wet (washed but not dried). Jack wants his apple whole, not peeled and wet. Luke wants dark purple grapes. Jack wants green grapes. Luke wants fat carrots. Jack wants stick carrots soaked in water. (Junk food they'll take in any form, any time, any place). Sometimes, I approach these high-maintenance orders like this:
Sometimes, I approach them like this:
Both the boys have a very particular way they like their ham sandwiches. I tried to make them once following the direction of my mom who originated the recipe. I wasn’t so successful. Jack said, “I’ll give you the recipe. You have to use fresh ingredients.” Thanks for the tip, honey. The actual recipe, provided by my mom and which is no joke, is as follows:
- Make a special trip to the store for “fresh ingredients.” These would be Pepperidge Farm Very Thin white bread, fresh sliced American cheese from the deli, and fresh sliced bone-boiled ham from the deli.
- Cut crusts from bread.
- Add deli American cheese to Jack’s bread. No cheese to Luke’s.
- Before adding bone-boiled ham to the bread, remove any suspicious looking spots from the ham. This would be anything that is not pink, including the white fatty pieces and the brown edging. Note – this part takes about three hours, so plan accordingly.
- Cut sandwiches into quarters.
- Bask in the love.
So, according to the above recipe, I can blame my mom for my sons’ penchant for being high-maintenance orderers. But isn’t that the circle-of-life? My sons blame me when their sandwich isn’t just right (and I quote: “I thought you got the recipe.”), and I blame my mom for using fresh ingredients rather than Oscar Mayer.Why do I put up with these high-maintenance orders? Because the waitress inside of me makes me feel that it is my job to serve good food that will be eaten and enjoyed by the receivers. If I serve food that will not be eaten, it will just be wasted. Then I will feel guilty that my kids are not eating enough, feel guilty about wasting food when there are starving children all over the world, and feel guilty that I’ve yelled at my children for wasting food when there are starving children all over the world. I’d rather fill that high-maintenance order than feel the guilt. And in this job, tips come in the form of hugs and kisses.