“Half pound of Sweet Slice ham sliced thin, please.”
Our local grocery chain carries Boar’s Head lunch meats in some of their stores. We’re big fans.
It’s all good, but our favorite is the Sweet Slice. Tastes like Easter.
The clerk prepared my order and handed it to me, wrapped in butcher paper.
“Thanks,” I said. Then I looked at the label: Maple Glazed.
“Uh, this isn’t Sweet Slice. I ordered Sweet Slice ham.”
“Oh,” she said. “I’m sorry. Do you want me to do it over?”
“No,” I said. “This is okay.” Hated to make her cut it again and waste the deliciousness of Maple Glazed. Like I said, it’s all good.
Life went on as usual. Packed the child’s lunch the next morning. Sent him out into the world. Picked him up at carpool.
Later safe at home, I popped open the lunchbox to discover a nearly untouched ham sandwich. There was evidence of a nibble.
“You didn’t eat your sandwich,” I said.
“Why didn’t you eat your sandwich?” said my husband.
“It’s the ham,” said the child. “I don’t like that kind.”
“What do you mean?” I said. “It’s Boar’s Head ham. It’s Maple Glazed not Sweet Slice, but…”
“It’s not the same,” he said. “Don’t want it.” And off he trotted to shuffle his Pokémon deck.
“How can he tell the difference between Sweet Slice and Maple Glazed?” I said.
“We’ve created a food snob,” said my husband, “with lunch meat.”
No more Maple Glazed, Black Forest, or Virginia ham. I won’t make the mistake of buying anything but Sweet Slice again. Unless I want to eat it by myself.
Have we created a food snob? An inflexible, entitled consumer? I don’t think so. He’s adaptable in other ways. Rolls with the punches and changes of life well.
Perhaps he simply likes his Sweet Slice ham. He’s tasted the good stuff. Met his muse. There’s no settling for less.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. This is just lunch meat. One day it will be weightier things.
He’ll be faced with what to study, what hobbies to pursue, where to work, who to befriend, who to unfriend, who to date (or marry!), who to worship.
There’s a lot we don’t get to choose. A lot of areas where we’re responsible to others. We have to compromise or sacrifice. Do what we’d rather not do.
But in the places we do get to choose, how extraordinary to choose the good stuff and pursue it wholeheartedly.
To pursue the good stuff, you have to recognize it. To recognize it, you have to know how it tastes.
And when it comes time to choose, you have to summon the courage to say no to the others, pick the Sweet Slice, and eat your fill.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to Him. Psalm 34:8 The Message
Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.
Disclaimer: I’m not being paid to promote Boar’s Head products. But I’m telling you, it’s some of the best lunch meat ever.