You Know You’re In American When…

“I’ve learned that I should never praise my mother’s cooking when I’m eating something fixed by my wife.” – Age 27 Anonymous, page 28, Live & Learn & Pass It On

Coming up with something original to make for dinner 365 days a year is not an easy task. It is downright stressful. Even with a stockpile of recipes to go three months without repeating a single meal, I sometimes want a break from the old meat and potatoes or meals inspired from around the world. Sometimes I just want something simple and quick.

When I got married some 20+ years ago, my hubby didn’t say a whole lot about my cooking. He would say it was “good” or that he liked it, but wasn’t one to gush. I learned with him the less he said the better because he was the first to point out if something wasn’t right or God forbid — his mother didn’t make it like that or … wait for it … you guessed it “My mother really makes good ________ (fill in whatever I had made for dinner that night).

I can tolerate quite a bit, but being compared to his mother, well I draw the line there. My rebuttal was always the same, “Then maybe you should have her make it for you!” And that meal was wiped from my menu permanently. No I wasn’t bitter, just not in the mood to be compared to someone who told me after my husband and I got engaged, “It would be so much nicer if he’d marry someone Serbian.” Yeah, in the 45+ years my in-laws have lived here, they have not accepted Americans in the least.

For the most part, my husband is all-American. He has been here since he was a young boy so has assimilated the American ways, but many of the old traditions and values remain. One such instance of this was made apparent to me when I served hot sub sandwiches for the first time for a dinner. This is one of those quick and easy meals I love to make when I’m tired of spending hours in the kitchen day after day. Being that it was hot, filled with meat, and served with a side of homemade potato salad, I figured it could squeak by for dinner.

With my hubby sitting at the table, waiting for me to serve dinner, I casually walked to the table and placed a Corning Ware dish filled with hot sub sandwiches on the table. He looked at it, pierced his lips, shook his head, and said, “You know you’re in American when you get served sandwiches for dinner.” I won’t get into what happened next, but lets just say, the meal was spent in silence and for years I never attempted to serve “sandwiches” for dinner again.

After so many years of marriage I believe I have earned the right to serve whatever I want on occasion, without regard for what darling hubby wants. He gives no help in the kitchen, offers no suggestions for meals, and is dead-set against eating out more than once or twice a year. I believe this gives me cart blanche when it comes to deciding whether or not I’m going to serve sandwiches for dinner.

Time has a funny way of mellowing people. Now-a-days, hubby has been known to suggest every once in a while that I make some sort of sandwich for dinner. It might be because it’s too hot to crank up the old stove, we might have been out all day and don’t have much time to make something before we pass out from hunger, or dare I say, he actually has a few “favorite” sandwiches that he enjoys having for dinner.

One of his favorites, as well as the rest of the families is a roasted turkey with peppers and onions sub. I made these yesterday after spending too long in the sun working outside. I didn’t saute any peppers, only onions, but it was delicious just the same. Served with homemade pickles and pickled peppers, two sandwiches for a grown man is plenty. I barely choke down one.

Roasted Turkey Sandwiches with Peppers & Onions

  •  Deli Sliced Turkey (I used both turkey and ham yesterday)
  • Cheddar Cheese Slices (I added a little Fiesta Jack cheese as well)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Vedalia Onion (2)
  • Yellow, Red, or Orange Bell Pepper (1)
  • Sub Rolls

Toast rolls.

Toast rolls and assemble ingredients.

Toast rolls and assemble ingredients.

Place five to seven slices of deli turkey on half of roll (how many will depend on how thick the meat is sliced).

Put sliced deli meat on rolls and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Put sliced deli meat on rolls and sprinkle with garlic powder.

Sprinkle with garlic powder.
Cover meat with one to two slices of cheese.

Top with cheese.

Top with cheese.

Saute onions and peppers in butter until tender. Drain and put on top of cheese.

Drain sauted onions and put on cheese.

Drain sauted onions and put on cheese.

Top with other half of sub roll, place in Corning Ware pan, cover with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350°.


Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.


Marriage is a learning process that begins with the first date and lasts for a lifetime. Getting your footing can be challenging, but once you get your stride and everything calms down, life is good, and sandwiches pass for dinner, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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