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, together.