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‘Make Your Own Damn Sandwich’ and Reasons Why We Can’t Surrender to Love

Man, I have been so inspired by a recent article in the New York Post.

This woman’s situation raises so many questions and thoughts and the reaction of some readers also raises thousands more.

I was particularly touched by the story because I totally know the power of sharing and showing love through cooking food for people. It just feels good, you feel good doing it, you feel good seeing and hearing the reaction and seeing a plate picked clean by your loved ones.

A few days ago I made the most awesome turkey wrap ever, and as I ate it, I thought to myself, “I’d love to make this again for my man after we’ve made love. Well, after my post-coital nap, THEN, I’ll make it.

So seeing this article today, had me beside myself in laughter, because while folks were raging on about it, I had a good laugh and I understood.

http://nypost.com/2013/09/24/i-wooed-my-man-with-a-sandwich/

Long story short, this woman happened to make her a very tasty sandwich one night and he loved it. So she started making him more awesome sandwiches and one day he blurted out that if she made 300, he’d put a ring on it.

So of course, people started tripping off of what was probably originally just a funny in-the-moment comment and began to go in on this dude, for “demanding” she make 300 sandwiches.

Homegirl took it literally and started her quest to 300. She’s somewhere around 127 and counting. I have to say after seeing some photos of these sandwiches, I like men very much, but if she was making those kinds of sandwiches for me everyday, I’d switch teams for a minute to reap the benefits. I kid.

But the sandwiches look original, creative and delicious. I actually want to try some of the recipes myself.

So I read the article from Facebook where a number of black women sounded off. Even in the article this chick is catching a bit of hell.

I’ve mentioned before I believe in feminism and I stand in solidarity with black feminism and all of its nuances and complexities. It’s some other ish, and the people I follow on twitter who are part of the black feminism movement have really educated me and gazillions of others.

Most people agreed aiming for an arbitrary number of sandwiches to get to 300 specifically just to get a ring isn’t a good idea.

And under most circumstances, looking at that idea at face value is ridiculous. What does making a great sandwich over and over have to do with marriage? Isn’t it about love and reciprocity and respect and loyalty and honor and discipline and responsibility and maturity? Yes, yes and yes.

And through this sandwich-making, this woman is actually showing all of those qualities.

If you read the description of their relationship, she says she adores him. She says he cooks amazing things for her (a perfect filet mignon), they travel together and they have been accepted and loved by both families. They live together and seem insanely happy.

So what is making a couple hundred sandwiches?

And trust, if their relationship is solid, and she really loves this man she’s got thousands of sandwiches to go. She’s not going to stop at 300, just because she’s got the ring, or 301, just to be on the safe side.

Love is built on various unselfish acts that we do for one another every single day.

But people can’t see past the sandwich, or the fact this intelligent, attractive woman is taking time from her day to do this.

I guess they want her to cure cancer or something instead.

She’s been called a Stepford Wife and accused of setting women back.

Women who attack other women for consciously wanting to reciprocate love to a man that’s treating them well, is what’s setting women back. REAL TALK.

The majority of women responding in the negative on the Facebook post were black women.

This is part of the reason why we aren’t winning. I’m not going to get on the already beaten and bludgeoned dead horse about why black women– particularly successful black women are single. But these kinds of attitudes contribute.

I’m going to add another layer to this. If you haven’t read the article, the woman featured is African-American and her boo thang is a white man.

So, some black women may be up in arms about this educated, attractive sister making sandwiches to “earn” a ring from a white man (who has clearly shown that he’s probably going to marry her anyway), but already planning “Scandal” parties for next week, making sandwiches for their girls, drooling while a married, white president Fitz, fabulously sexes down the brilliant and gorgeous Olivia Pope.

American black women can be a little touchy about relationships with American white men, due to our horrible history together in this country through sex and slavery.

The venom is misplaced.

I think there’s some hate and jealousy in the mix. This woman is getting what she wants. She wants to be loved, she wants to share her life with someone who appreciates her.

And isn’t that the goal? They share a lovely home together, they travel, he cooks. Like he really cooks. Shiiiit. 300 sandwiches ain’t nothing. If Idris Elba asked a black woman to do it, she’d do it in a heartbeat.

We have parameters on who we love, and a dysfunctional sense that if we consistently do something nice for a man like cook or clean or iron or sew a button, we have demeaned ourselves. We’ve made ourselves lesser.

I’ve told you all the story about my sister bringing my brother-in-law his dinner, on a tray to his man cave. The younger me hated it. And I thought she was being weak and a Stepford. But that was her style of giving love and making him happy and making him feel like the man of his house. I know my brother-in-law to be a very hard worker, often working two jobs to support the family and give them everything they need. He adores my sister and you can feel it the way they laugh and joke and play with each other.

In order to enjoy mature love, both sides have to be vulnerable and show a lot more humility and not be afraid to do so. Many of the black women I know, we want to be in control, we want to know what’s going to happen in the future and we want an established record of good behavior from a man in order for us to completely give ourselves over.

But it seems us expecting love to work that way is not working FOR us. That attitude is working against us. We should be cautious and discerning when we pick our partners. Yes, but we have to trust we’ve done a good enough job in the selection process, that we should want to show love in ways others might see as domestic servitude.

We want men to fix things for us, to get up in the middle of the night with a baseball bat against a potential gun if there is a home invader. We want men to lay down expensive blazers in a puddle and or get rained on so we don’t get our hair wet; we want them to kill bugs and remove critters and dispose of garbage— things that an educated man could scoff at, just as educated women could scoff at cooking and cleaning and declare as things a man can “do his damn self” — but would we do all of those things our damn self, if we had a good man who doesn’t have to do it, but chooses to make us feel safe and loved and appreciated?

It’s something to think about.

If I know that I have a great man who loves me, I want to want to do things he likes for him even if it may inconvenience me from time to time, because I know he’s doing the same for me. I’m not going to keep score and with hold my love or positive loving actions because I’m waiting for him to do something for me that I consider equal or greater to my action. That’s not love.

Soon as I get home from work. Babyface

People hated Cater to You by Destiny’s Child. But basically this is the point of today’s blog. If you grown, you get it.

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Happy New Year!!!

We made it folks! It’s 2013.

Most of us have been enjoying the holiday, spending time with family and friends, making memories, making resolutions, breaking out our gym shoes and renewing or starting health club memberships.

We cleaned out or closets and we gave stuff away for donations (and a tax receipt). We spent time reflecting on what we did wrong and hopefully what we did right this year.

Me, I did a lot of that and I have a larger list of things to do. I did some praying, I did some cooking.

Actually, a Lot of cooking. I had this feeling when I got back from visiting my family and friends in NY that for New Year’s weekend, I would cook.

So I made my pork barbecue, homemade potato salad, mac and cheese and I was determined to defeat an old foe.

Sweet potato pie.

There were times I’ve nailed it, and other times, where I had to throw them away, they were just that bad. I’m so proud to say I made two awesome pies this weekend thanks to a little of patience, love and an awesome Sharper Image hand mixer!

I enjoyed sharing my food with my friends who may have been away from loved ones for New Year’s too.

Lately, my close friends have indulged me in just straight taking time out to play. I mean literally.

I spent time with some friends touring my local brand new boys and girls club and it’s an amazing, beautiful facility, one me and my friends would have never left if we had such a place growing up. Seriously, these kids have an amazing opportunity in front of them with a great staff, there is no excuse not to be excellent! I was so proud to visit and show my support.

The night before Christmas Eve, I spent the evening with my best friend, exchanging our gifts, laughing our heads off and wrapping gifts. I taught her some of my tricks for the perfect wrap. Then after finding a defective roll with a gaping hole in it, we proceeded to play in the paper, wearing it and having sword fights with the cardboard roll. We covered ourselves with bows and posted them online. Our friends started to comment and we were even challenged to build a fort! So that’s what we did! Old school.

Blankets, chairs, sofa cushions and two grown, well-accomplished, well-traveled, degreed women, 30-years-old, were building and taking pictures in a fort! We were giggling and laughing and rolling on the floor and I asked if it was crazy that I enjoyed doing that at 1 a.m. rather than being in someone’s night club.

Another wonderful friend joined me this weekend, who I invited to eat my massive amount of food. She brought over paints, brushes and paper.

We painted, drank wine and cackled. I loved every moment.

So, if nothing less, I learned that for 2013, I need to have a moment to play. Just play, have a good time, do something that seems immature and silly, like build a fort or draw a picture or paint with watercolors on your living room floor.

I have to write another post to describe New Year’s Night with New guy/aka boo thang. It was fabulous!!!

My hair was pretty awesome!

Happy New Year folks, go out and play!

Confession Wednesday: I Kinda Like Planning Parties and Butterflies?

Hey folks.

What a week. I ran my first 5k ever, I seem to have lost 5 pounds, might have met someone who makes me feel all fuzzy, like may have the potential to put some fertilizer around my Grinch heart to make it grow again, and there was Hurricane Sandy.


GIFSoup

Oh boy.

I’ve been itchin to write the 5k post, but I need to take my time on that one, because I have some interesting thoughts and feelings on the whole experience, and this post may rival the infamous first Zumba class post that I wrote that actually led to me being Freshly Pressed, which still amazes me.

Even if I don’t get the same kind of love, I just want it to be good, because it was a great moment for me, and I can’t find the video clip of this car commercial that features audio texts that a woman gets after she ran a marathon and was limping back to her car. And I need that clip to really illustrate how crazy I was looking after the race when the adrenaline left the building.

So back to the confessions.

A good, good friend who I admire and love, her birthday is today. Halloween.

Since she’s taking her little one trick or treating, she has expressed that she’d rather celebrate over the weekend with a little get together at my home featuring our favorite “bad” movies and a little food and some sweets.

I’m all about it.

I instantly started looking up recipes for appetizers and have been in plan mode. It’s easy to get this way because, I love this person, but more and more I think I’m starting to realize that I do enjoy hosting and making sure folks have a damn good time.

I don’t do it often.

I don’t.

But when I do, I’m serious about it. And there is something about Fall and Halloween that make certain intimate gatherings even more fun and more intimate and you can have foods and drinks that warm you up and there’s just something about the hearth and home feeling you get. I really love Thanksgiving too. I secretly enjoy cooking when I don’t feel rushed and feeding people and having people like what I make. Oh so there’s another confession.

I have a feeling I’ll be shopping for goodies and surprises for my friend even though she said, not to make a big fuss.

So, she reads this blog.

Hunny, I’m going to go to the Dollar Store (the place where I go to stock up for all of my parties).  So see? No trouble at all!

Next confession.

This came out of no where as it often does.

I’m crushing on someone.

He’s younger. I’m usually anti younger, but he’s 28, that doesn’t count. Two years, ok. I can work with it.

The online wasteland actually coughed up something of interest.

He sends texts, but wait!

He actually calls, like we have conversations. Last night we talked from 9 p.m. til about 12:30 a.m. He even said, “Take your butt to bed, we gotta go to work tomorrow, but I don’t want to get off the phone.”

To which I replied, “Awww. I feel special.” I started singing that reggae song, “I’m so special.” I could feel him shaking his head through the phone as he kept saying, “Really?” “Really?”

I spared him from me doing this….

We have interesting conversations and we can even crack jokes. He gets my sense of humor and I think he’s pretty funny, which is crucial.

He seems smart, well-adjusted and has gone on enough of his share of bad dates too. We like the same types of music and he grew up in a religious family too.

He’s educated, seems to have a pretty good job, but he doesn’t lead with that.

Lives alone.

I actually like seeing his name in my phone. That’s a super good, good sign.

We have not set up a date yet, although he tried to convince me to ditch working online yesterday (while the rest of the east coast was off work, ahem) to join him at IHOP. Oh, I was tempted.

But I look forward to whenever we do actually hang out. I’m really hoping the chemistry is just as good in person.

This is refreshing, because I just never gave younger guys a chance. I did once, last year, he was 22. I was being absurd.

I gave him some and he wouldn’t leave me alone. Calling my house all times of night (typical college hours, but not grown employed folk hours).

So, I decided if months ago I could go 17 years older, what in the world is the harm of going two years younger?

I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t. But I can’t help but think, something is different about this one, which kind of by default is getting my hopes up.

Down hopes, down.

These are my confessions. Shhh. Don’t tell noooobody.

I leave you with some vintage Floetry. “Butterflies” Live!!!

The Best Lasagna Made In the Entire World Aug. 7, 2012

Piyato/freedigitalphotos.net

Somewhere yesterday, in Italian kitchens, chefs and  grandmas labored and labored over probably the most delicious, technically and culturally correct pan of lasagna.

But it wasn’t the best pan of lasagna made in the world that day.

The best lasagna in the world that day was carefully crafted in a kitchen in an inpatient rehab facility in Baltimore, by a young woman who barely two weeks ago had a stroke, had difficulty doing everything, could hardly talk, couldn’t walk, get up or move around.

And she did it all by herself.

Part of her therapy is to get back into normal activities, and her task was to remember what ingredients she needed and how to put them all together to make her meal. She just wasn’t allowed to use the stove or oven unsupervised.

Her mother and I were over the moon.

When I came to visit her, her face lit up. She was happy to see me, she was smiling and laughing and was surprised. The suckie thing about the situation is, since she struggles with her short-term memory, every time I show up, it really is like the first time for her. She doesn’t remember I’ve been coming several times a week. But I don’t care.

She was alert, she was engaged in convo and she’s quite aware of her current limitations.

She even asked, “Do I still have a job?”

“Yes hunny, there are laws to ensure you still have your job.”

Earlier that day, I was sulking about feeling like I haven’t had any major accomplishments and how it’s been years since I sat on some panel or did something grand.

Only hours later, my friend, shakes her head looks at her mother and me and says, “Yall make such a big deal out of every thing. It’s just lasagna.”

I looked at her and said. “It’s a big, friggin, deal. A BFD.”

I’m humbled. I was upset because I hadn’t won any awards in a long time or had a front page article, but somehow a humble pan of lasagna made by a living, breathing, laughing, smiling miracle that is my friend, shot up to the top of the list of things to be proud of. It was a thing to celebrate. It was better than any accolade I could have garnered for myself.

Heck, after all, it was the best damn pan of lasagna in all of the world on August 7, 2012.

That commands respect and celebration.

Cooking: Just Do It

winnond/freedigitalphotos.net

By the age of 30, I strongly believe that everyone, male and female needs to have at least ONE signature dish. They also need to make one good breakfast food.

Man and woman cannot live on takeout alone. Besides, you are going to be broke and you’ll still be hungry.

I won’t lie. I didn’t always know how to get down in the kitchen. My mom was a working mother and even when I wanted to help her, she’d take a deep breath and say, “baby, I’m so sorry, but I just want to get this done.”  As a working woman myself now, I totally get it. So don’t think my mom is some horrible person who didn’t have time for me. She had to feed us and then move on to the next thing. It’s ok. I have never held that against her. In fact, I admire her even more.

However, it did push me to work harder when I was learning and making mistakes.

There is something about a home-cooked meal and there is a certain level of satisfaction I get from cooking a meal, it being really good and others enjoying it. I am one of those people who believes cooking for people is a way of showing love. Including when you cook for yourself. If I make some fish in the middle of a work week, I sit there and say, hot damn this is good. I didn’t get it from a drive thru, this came from me.

In my last relationship, we cooked for each other and cooked together very often. His jambalaya was amazing, and he couldn’t wait for me to make some homemade salsa or my pulled pork (family recipe). Being in the kitchen together, we’d talk about our day, we’d play music and even dance together and share glasses of wine. We’d brush up against one another, trying to maneuver around the kitchen and flirt. Those were among my fondest memories.

We even combined both our mothers’ recipes for mac and cheese and it was soooo delicious. I can’t bring myself to make it that way anymore, since we aren’t together. It just doesn’t feel right. But see how powerful food is to our memories and our senses? It’s deep.

Either way, like many women of our generation, when I was younger, I thought cooking was counter to being an intelligent, successful, professional woman.  In our early twenties we seemed to fight against cooking for whatever reason because it seemed like it was what we were supposed to do for men, and it didn’t sit well with us.  It seemed like the girls our age who cooked, were always doing it for some dude and that’s all they cared about. Pleasing some dude.

Now that I think about it, was just plain stupid.

When you get older, you realize both kinds of girls were on to something, and the women who can balance both concepts were the ones who got it. Those women had great careers and seemingly happy relationships. Eureka!

The women in my life, like my mother who were the ultimate multitaskers, cooked awesome stuff that just made you feel good that you know you couldn’t have anyplace else. They certainly weren’t mindless Stepford wives, kowtowing to their men.

I tried cooking during my college years, and frankly, I sucked. I just couldn’t get it right. My friends make fun of me to this day for such failures as the pot roast (also called the ‘not roast’), the raw fried chicken and the burnt pancakes.

Eventually, I got it together and I was not only making edible food, but it was starting to taste good!

As I get older, there is also a very emotional aspect to it. I cook certain things to preserve family traditions that I don’t want to be lost forever when the people who started them pass. I have an aunt that passed away almost two years ago. I remember calling her up to learn how to cook pulled pork and she talked me through it the whole way. The same friends who dissed my not roast, raved and continue to ask me when I’m going to make the pulled pork again. (A six-hour labor of love, sauce made from scratch)

When she died, those of us who really enjoyed cooking wanted her recipes because even though she was gone tasting that food would be a physical way to still feel her. I’m sure she felt that way too when she got those recipes from her mother. My grandmother died before I was born, but because Aunt Mae still cooked the homemade soup, and because she, my mother and my Aunt Margaret, (both of whom married into the family) learned the pulled pork (what we call chopped bbq) and the strawberry roll (my mom pulled ahead of the pack on that one) and homemade ice cream (Aunt Margaret is the leader on that one), we all shared in my grandmother Laura’s legacy.

So ladies, if you are about to be 30 and you are still against cooking because you think it’s about pleasing a man, it’s so much more than that.

It helps, I won’t front. Because a lot of women these days don’t want to cook or they can’t, these men are hungry. I plan to write about all of the men being at Boston Market, lol.

I’ll leave you with this tidbit to chew on:

I asked a male friend what comes to mind faster, a mind-blowing sexual encounter you had or your mom’s best dish?

He said his mother’s best dish.

Case closed.

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