By 300 Sandwiches
Traditionally, making your man a plate is something housewives of yore did for their man. Every night, when men would come in from the rock quarry, Wilma Flinstones would have that brontosaurus steak ready by the time their Freds sat down at the dinner table. Even now, some women will fix their man a plate at, say the buffet at church, or at the family reunion, or at home during the football game. Debates have kicked up online, with some believing the act of making your man a plate as another subservient wifey duty. But don’t both wife and husband have to eat anyway?
Any time I went to my grandmother’s house, the first thing she, or an aunt or great aunt would ask is if they could fix me a plate. “There you are! Look at you! How’s my baby? Can I fix you a plate?” A serving of whatever was cooking in the kitchen would be offered to anyone walking through the door—husbands, sons, daughters, grandchildren, young, old, related or not. This is what elders believed was the appropriate way of saying welcome to anyone who visited their home. Nobody ever came solely in search of a meal, but they always ended up getting a taste of something before they left.
When I go home to see my parents, particularly during the holidays when leftovers are abound, my mother asks almost every few hours if she can fix a plate for anyone. Does she do it out of motherly duty? Sure. But it’s her way of her saying “I love you” and “I’m grateful we’re together.” Also, “let me make your plate now, so you don’t make a mess of my kitchen later.”
I don’t ever ask E if I can fix him a plate when he walks in the door, nor does he of me. In the morning, when he’s making breakfast, I’ll ask him if he wants tea, or coffee, and he’ll ask if I want some eggs or a “yogurt,” which is code for our Greek yogurt, berries, nuts and honey parfaits we make for breakfast. When we order takeout, E gets out two plates and assembles our dinners on them while I set the table. “Want pumpkin pie?” he asked me the other night when he went back to the kitchen for a midnight snack (this also prevents me asking for a “smidge” of his pie but end up taking half). For me to ask him if he wants what I’m having, or vice versa, is a natural thing to do when we’re in the kitchen.
This weekend, I was making E a sandwich with our Thanksgiving leftovers (naturally), and I knew I wanted some sides and fixings to go along with it. I figured he would too, so I started assembling a plate of food that I would have seen my grandmother or mom make for me or my father. E didn’t ask me to. In fact, E wasn’t familiar with the term “make me a plate.” But I just did it. Because why not?
I asked whether or not making your man a plate is a wifey duty or just being considerate of others on our Facebook wall over the weekend, and on my own personal FB feed. It kicked off a fun online discussion, which I absolutely loved reading. Not one person saw making a plate as a negative thing. Or an anti-feminist thing. “It’s not a duty, just a nice thing to do,” many commenters said. “I do it out of love,” others said. Or, as Nina C., who is married to a construction worker, explained: “It’s much easier fixing him up a soup, sandwich, and sweet tea than getting my butt up a ladder and ripping up shingles to lay down a new roof if you ask me.”
The best reason to make a plate for someone, as Cheryl G. stated: “It makes me happy. And, sometimes he makes me a bowl of ice cream.”
Or these days, in my kitchen, pumpkin pie.
2 pieces bread
pat or two of butter
(If using a panini press, smear butter on bread, then assemble sandwich. If using skillet, melt pats of butter in skillet, and place assembled sandwich inside.)
Slather one piece of bread with cranberry sauce, the other with cheddar cheese. Layer turkey on cheddar side. Top cranberry side onto the turkey side. Warm until cheese melts, slice in half, and serve.