Home on the Range
May 9, 2010
The modern mom cares for her children, incessantly. And for her parents, intermittently. Sometimes she tends to both child and parent, at home and abroad, at the same time.
The sociologist likens her condition to that of a sandwich. Not a sandwich in the sense of easy and easily portable. A sandwich in the sense of squeezed from two sides.
She feels no kinship with the picnic-ready lobster roll, all seafaring and buoyant. She finds herself fascinated by the layered, slathered, grilled contraption that owes its crust to time served between a rock and a hot place. She is a pressed sandwich. Perhaps an oppressed sandwich. Occasionally a depressed sandwich.
And yet, impressive.
Consider the exterior. The ordinary PB&J or egg salad on whole wheat goes soft and squishy in the housing. Not so the grilled cheese, panino, Cuban or pressed smoked duck with arugula and Manchego. Such a sandwich may initially rely on the tender roll or sliced white. But as soon as it's called up for service, it takes heat from the griddle, grill or skillet while enduring the weight of the press, brick, pot or heavy hand. It comes out of the pan golden brown, cheese crusted, nearly charred. And all the better for it.
Inside, the pressed sandwich is warmer than its cold compatriot. It's empathetic. And good company. Even in pressing circumstances.
Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.