"No obstacles are insurmountable when God commands and we obey"
- - Heber J. Grant
September 30, 2013
What's in Your Lunch Sack?
by Kathryn H. Kidd

September was a lean month on Planet Kathy. Make no mistake about it — since Fluffy lost his job in February, we haven’t actually had any months that haven’t been lean. But September was so lean that we were counting pennies. We counted them so well that when we reached the last week of the month, I still had enough allowance money left over to take Fluffy out to lunch at a place that wasn’t a secret shopper assignment. It was a real treat to come home from the meal and not have to write a report to pay for it!

Fluffy found a coupon for a restaurant where we usually can’t afford to eat, so we spent quite some time looking at the menu online and anticipating what we might order. Fluffy considered a wedge salad — his favorite — until I choked at the price.

Who pays $9.95 for a wedge of iceberg lettuce, anyway? I told Fluffy we could buy two cups of clam chowder for less than one wedge salad, and then we could make wedge salads at home. He looked skeptical. He had never heard of people actually making wedge salads at home. “Do you know what the ingredients are?” he asked tenuously.

Once again, I was reminded that Fluffy and I may have been born only six weeks apart, but we came from galaxies far, far away. He grew up eating strange and curious things like yogurt. I grew up where the only salads we ate were made with iceberg lettuce that had been cut into wedges, garnished with thin slices of tomatoes or onions or both, and then drizzled with Roquefort dressing.  In other words — wedge salads.

Yes, we ate Roquefort dressing — not bleu cheese dressing, and certainly not blue cheese dressing. I can’t speak for every family in New Orleans, but even though we were too poor to pay the telephone bill, our family consumed only the stuff that came from those caves in France, and those sheep.

(I remember when I was in high school, and New Orleans-area restaurants started charging fifty cents extra if people wanted Roquefort dressing on their salads. This was a real hardship for our family. Putting it as tactfully as I can, Mother was not a gourmet chef. Because she didn’t like to cook and we didn’t like to eat what she did cook, our family went to restaurants as often as we could afford it — more often than we could afford it, actually. Adding five little servings of Roquefort to the bill increased the tab by $2.50.

(I don’t know how accurate this is, but according to the Dave Manuel Inflation Calculator $3 in 1965 money would be $18.52 in today’s money. Even so, other kinds of salad dressing were not an option. We in our family really liked our Roquefort.)

So when Fluffy asked if I knew how to make a wedge salad, I said yes without any hesitation. (Would you like anchovies or capers on that wedge salad, Mr. Kidd?)

Wedge salads were the salads of my coming-of-age years. In fact, I remember getting to college and marveling over salads where the lettuce was cut up before it was put into a salad bowl. I was so grateful that at long last, I didn’t have to cut my salads with a knife.

Fluffy had a good laugh over that when I told him. Here he was, thinking of wedge salads as a luxury. At the same time, I had always thought of wedge salads as a chore. For me, the luxury was being able to eat a salad with fork or with fingers (as renowned chef James Beard used to do), never having to rely on a knife to cut the lettuce at tableside.

He reminded me of a story we heard in the village of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Yarmouth was a shipbuilding town, but it was also home to numerous lobstermen. The prosperous shipbuilders’ children used to make fun of the fishermen’s children because of what they brought for lunch every day. The rich kids, you see, got to eat bologna sandwiches. The poor kids had to settle for lobster rolls.

Talking about wedge salads and shredded lettuce salads and bologna sandwiches and lobster rolls reminded both of us how important it is to be grateful for whatever we have. Who knows what parts of our own lives would be considered luxuries by people who are carrying a different sort of sack lunch, or perhaps no lunch sack at all?

Just the fact that you can read this column means you are more blessed than much of the world’s population. Sometimes before we complain we need to put things in their proper perspective. Then we can replace our self-pity with gratitude.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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