I’ve admitted it before… but growing up I wasn’t a fan of beans. There was just something about the texture of beans that I didn’t care for. It really wasn’t that big of a deal because the only time I remember having them at home was in chili.
Funny thing is, I liked the taste of chili just not the beans. As a kid, I’d strategically place the beans on my spoon and swallow them whole. I also liked to dip the sandwiches my school served into the chili.
I distinctly remember our lunch ladies serving up butter and lettuce sandwiches with chili. There was something about the cool crisp lettuce and smooth butter that offset the hot, spiciness of the chili.
Pretty much every time I make chili I remember those sandwiches and tell my daughters about them. To them, it was a crazy combination. They’re used to having cornbread with chili. It’s a tradition we picked up from my wife’s family.
Not only did my kid’s think it sounded strange but so did any friends I’d mention it to. It got me wondering if my memory was playing tricks on me. Was it something my mind was making up?
I figured the quickest way to get to the bottom of it would be to ask the question on Facebook. If we had these sandwiches surely some of my childhood friends would chime in.
So I posed the question in a post: Do any friends from elementary school remember having a school lunch of butter and lettuce sandwiches with chili?
The first few responses came in and had me doubting my memory because it wasn’t a memory of theirs. One of my favorite high school teachers even asked her husband if he remembered it. He was my 5th-grade teacher.
He didn’t remember them but offered a plausible explanation. Maybe the kitchen had extras one time and served butter and lettuce sandwiches as a way to use up what they had on hand.
I was ready to accept that as the final answer and then the conversation shifted. First one friend remembered them. Then another and another. A few said they loved them too.
My faith in my memory was slowly being restored. Then a friend from church said his school served them and his family still makes them when they have chili.
That did it. I felt like I could trust my memory… and it made me hungry for butter and lettuce sandwiches with chili. Next time I make a crockpot of my famous chili I’ll make some butter and lettuce sandwiches to serve to my daughters. Maybe after trying them, they won’t think it’s so crazy.
Have you ever had butter and lettuce sandwiches with chili? What do you typically serve with chili?