I came across the article and for some reason read it from start to finish. It was commentary on a survey asking people to rank their favorite sandwiches. Not too earth-shattering, so I guess I wondered how you would fill copy talking about bread, meat and vegetables. I couldn’t believe I was spending time reading about sandwiches because, frankly, I don’t like them.
I can’t blame my years in school. I took lunches for only grades one and two and then we moved to places where I could walk home at noon every day and my mom always had great meals prepared.
I spent a year with a music ministry team right out of university and we ate a lot of bagged lunches, graciously prepared by the various host homes where we stayed, with sandwiches being the most commonly packed item. It’s not hard to see why. Sandwiches are portable, they can be made ahead, and seemingly universally liked. When that tour ended I found it easy to avoid sandwiches until kids came along. Of course just because I helped my girls make their sandwiches didn’t mean I had to eat them—until one summer. The summer of the sandwich.
Over the course of several weeks one summer our family had multiple activities that stretched over the lunch and supper hour and the easiest way to keep us fed was hauling around picnic baskets and coolers. They were filled with a variety of options but at the centre of each meal was the (un)celebrated sandwich. I couldn’t wait for the end of that summer so we could return to meals at home where my options would be increased. I was so bored of sandwiches.
Options? Bored? Wow, talk about the heights of ingratitude.
By the end of summer 2020, more than 50 countries will face acute food insecurity. That’s just a fancy way of saying extreme hunger. Starvation. This represents hundreds of millions of people without access to enough food to survive. Just let that sink in for a moment.
What is compounding this situation is the number of people affected by the economic shutdown of the past few months. That means there is less money being sent to aid agencies or from relatives abroad to those in the greatest distress. That concern exists for agencies and food banks in this country too, and the demand will only continue increasing. While I mutter about having to eat something I don’t like, children and adults are starving to death each day from having nothing at all.
The 1,223 sandwich eaters surveyed for the article put grilled cheese on top, followed by turkey. Rounding out the top five were grilled chicken, roast beef and ham. Others making the list were tuna, egg salad, pulled pork, meatball, French dip and the Reuben. Look at that variety. Think about how many more there are—sandwiches you or I could make right now either because we have the ingredients sitting in our fridges, freezers, cupboards and pantries, or we have access to any number of grocery outlets that can easily supply our needs. That’s just the sandwiches. Our meals each week include so much more.
Whether I’m offered a PB&J or a BLT, I need to be aware of the fact that I live in a place where I get to be choosy. But deciding anything about my meals or grocery shopping should go way beyond what I might or might not like. The most important food decision I can make today is giving someone else something to eat. That’s my outlook.