(A favorite from December 20, 2012)
Did you ever have a special dish of your own creation added to a restaurant menu? I did. Twice. Here’s number one. . . .
When I was at Augustana College, I was the quintessential night owl. I would study (or play cards) until the wee hours. And often, as the second hand approached midnight, I and a few other guys would hitchhike (see 9/4/16) to the Round the Clock Restaurant in downtown Rock Island. And I would order a grilled peanut butter sandwich. With a dill pickle on the side. And a tall glass of milk. The interesting thing was that grilled peanut butter was not on the menu.
One evening at the Round the Clock, I had noticed a “peanut butter & jelly sandwich” on the menu. I was not about to order a PB & J sandwich, but it occurred to me that a grilled peanut butter sandwich might be just the ticket. We slid into the booth and I ordered a “grilled peanut butter sandwich.” The waitress looked at me like I was a moon rock. I said “same as a grilled cheese but use peanut butter instead of cheese.” I felt like Jack Nicholson in the “Five Easy Pieces” diner scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wtfNE4z6a8 The waitress walked away shaking her head. She used gestures to explain the order at the window to the kitchen. And she pointed at the goofy-looking kid in the booth.
After a few weeks of this, when I walked in the door, the waitress would give me that knowing look “grilled peanut butter“? she would ask. I’d nod and smile “yes ma’am.” A few months later, “Grilled Peanut Butter Sandwich” made its debut on the Round the Clock’s menu. And I became a legend. At least in my own mind.