[Here’s a repeat from December 20, 2012]
Did you ever have a special dish added to a restaurant menu? I did. Once.
When I was in college, I was a night owl. I studied until the wee hours. Often as the second hand approached midnight, a few other guys and I would hitchhike 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.
Let’s back up a few months. One o dark thirty night 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, 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 She walked away shaking her head. She used gestures to explain the order at the window to the kitchen. She pointed at the nerdy kid in the booth. At least it worked (unlike Jack Nicholson’s experience).
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.