For the first six months of our marriage, Michael and I kept
secrets from each other. Oh no, not secrets like, “I’m really a man!” or “I
have another family in rural Texas.”
No, no, secrets like: I hate deli turkey on sandwiches.
Michael knew I hated ham—I just can’t stand the texture,
even in a well cooked ham. Deli ham makes me want to go on a hunger strike or
eat a kosher diet. But then I remember I love bacon, so that can’t happen. But
I will not eat ham.
Turkey was always the second cheapest deli meat, after
bologna, which is made from entrails and sadness. So we’d get turkey and put it
on our sandwiches. I’d put on as much mustard and cheese as possible to mask
the slimy taste of deli turkey.
Little did I know, for SIX WHOLE MONTHS, but Michael was
doing the same thing.
Turns out, he enjoys ham and will eat it, but isn’t
clamoring for deli ham on a sandwich. Turkey, meanwhile, evoked the same kind
of disgust in him that it did in me.
But we kept buying it week after week to put on our
sandwiches that we ate every day for lunch (and sometimes dinner) to gain a bit
of protein while still living on a graduate student budget.
And that is when we discovered that we both LOVE deli roast
beef. It is the best of the deli meats, as we learned one fateful day when it
was 1) on sale and 2) I had a coupon, so we could afford the extravagance of
pre-sliced, packaged beef-like product. And what joy to discover we share an
affinity for yet another food.
It was disconcerting to learn that our marriage was based on
a lie: that we both liked deli turkey.
So we vowed to never again keep silent and just go on
purchasing and eating something that was disgusting. Over the years, we’ve phased
out deli meats entirely, partly because they are more expensive per ounce than
buying a whole cut of meat or a whole bird of some kind and roasting and then
slicing up the leftovers, and also because it’s not the healthiest choice for
sodium and nitrate content.
That secret like so many other have been peeled away over
the years, and even more will come to light in years to come, until we have no
more secrets left. [Seriously, I’m not a man, though.] And one day, when we are
old and grey and aren’t as picky about tastes, perhaps we’ll develop a craving
for deli turkey, and together make some secret sandwiches—a secret we can keep,