Friday, February 29, 2008

High-Maintenance Orders

Have you watched this scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally?

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:

  1. 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.

  2. Cut crusts from bread.

  3. Add deli American cheese to Jack’s bread. No cheese to Luke’s.

  4. 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.

  5. Cut sandwiches into quarters.

  6. 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.


Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Heather, this is SO STINKIN' FUNNY! I love it. I needed a very good heartfelt, can-totally-relate laugh today. My kids are the same way. Gavin - crust. Grant - no crust. Gavin - cold hot dogs. Grant - warm hot dogs. Grant - ABSOLUTELY NOT A SMIDGEN OF WHITE ON HIS ORANGE, but don't but too far in where it gets, too juicy either. Gavin - no fresh fruit.


Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Okay ignore my terrible grammar with my comma overuse and the but at the end is supposed to be CUT.

katydidnot said...

my mantra in the kitchen: i am not a short order cook.

The Other Laura said...

Your kids eat HAM, my 7 year old won't touch ham!

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.

Have a nice weekend!

Kellan said...

That was a great post Heather! I loved hearing about your sister and all of her "special order needs" - so funny. And your boys and their preferences! Everyone is particular about food, to some degree aren't they?

Have a good weekend - Kellan

memphismemory said...

I was the one in the photo. I was the voice saying "eat what I give you or else". I was so hungry growing up that I ate and loved liver and onions! I never understood not fighting to eat what ever was put in front of me.

MP said...

I took my stepson to school last monday and had to confirm with his mom which way I was to cut his peanut butter sandwich..diagonal..squares..2 rectangles..because it really matters. :-)

Damama T said...

I'm with Sally and your sister. Tonight when I ordered dinner it was:

(yes, I really said all this!)

Steak - very well done, no pink. NONE. NO PINK AT ALL. Tell the chef I don't care if he has to butterfly it or half it or whatever, but don't bring it out here with any pink in it.
Salad - No onions, honey-mustard on the side
Baked Potato - butter, sour cream, cheese, on the side.
Ice Tea - no lemon, light on the ice.

WHAT??? I'm paying for it, shouldn't I get it like I want it? At least to make up for all the trouble hubby tips REAAAALLLYYYY well! LOL!

Kathy said...

Poor thing! I'm particular about how I want something. My son will eat anything you put in front of him. My daughter eats, well, not much of anything! Good luck!

peepaw/peeps said...

I am responsible for the groceries brought into the household as strongly suggested by your mother. It is always suggested that I remember the proper food which The Little Wild Boys enjoy. You may not be aware but many employees scatter when your mother arrives at the local deli counter since she is sooo particular about the deli meats. I believe many of the boys food concerns may have been brought to the table by their meemaw. But I always enjoy their food and snack requests and I will always try to do my part to fill their orders at the store and here at our home. If anyone is wondering I am Peepaw one the boys grandfathers and I Love Them Sooo Much. Peace Peeps