It’s fall, and apples are glorious, and these paninis are really the most delicious, easiest meal. And I really will tell you more about them, but first I need to tell you about something that was not easy.
In the true spirit of blogging, I’ma get my rant on:
How is it possible that on an average airplane, changing tables are not a standard feature? Our recent flight to San Francisco was four hours. Our trip home was four hours. And neither airplane had even one changing table built into it. Here’s how that went down.
On the way there, Owen started to stink about two-thirds into our flight. I buzzed the flight attendant to our row as I looked apologetically at the person sitting next to us: “Excuse me, miss, just wondering if any of the bathrooms have changing tables.” She responded that she had to check; we waited, with Owen’s stink growing by the minute, until she came back and with a sort of grimace, said, “No.”
I sighed. Gathered up our changing mat, a diaper, wipes, and my child, who basically smelled like a pig farm by this point. I scooted by the gracious person next to us and started the stinky walk of shame towards the back of the plane.
Then Owen, my extra six inches of babybelly, and I entered the bathroom, which was about the width of a cutting board. We looked at our reflection in the mirror as I explained to him what we had to do. Praying against the germs of the thousands of people who had used the toilet before, I closed the lid and laid down our mat on top. And then, I laid my 32″-long baby down on the mat. And two-thirds of his body rested on that toilet lid, while the last third – his stinky business third – hung towards the floor.
He immediately started writhing like a snake giving birth, twisting his body in his desperation to not be in the situation he was currently in, meanwhile screaming like I’d just ripped the last cookie on earth out of his hands.
Using my left forearem to pin him down, I used my right hand to wrestle wipes out of one of those poorly-designed soft packs, repeatedly bumping my elbow against the wall.
I immediately started sweating and soon found myself saying, over and over again, “It’s okay, baby. I’msosorryI’msosorryI’msosorry. Let’s just get through this and I’ll give you M&M’s.” Owen, unfortunately, was less focused on my soothing words than he was on using both his hands to push himself off the toilet seat, with all of his mustered strength (which apparently equals that of a thousand angry octopi).
After about four minutes of this, we finished. I could literally feel sweat dripping down my back and could pretty much see the germs crawling all over him. Then, to further protest, I washed his and my hands for like eight minutes with that tepid water, using all of my mustered strength to keep him from splashing in the non-draining water accumulating at the bottom of that dirty sink.
The flight back was worse. Twice as bad actually, because Owen’s belly was a little upset, probably due to the food tour we’d put him through the day before. The first time he went, I again, with fingers crossed, asked the flight attendant what the changing table situation was. And again, she apologetically said there wasn’t one.
So I headed for the back again, this time planning to use the floor of the curtained off flight attendant area rather than rehash the toilet-seat disaster of the first flight. As soon as I laid him down, a different, more snarky flight attendant, rushed back and said, “Ma’am, Ma’am, you can’t change him here; there’s too many sharp things.”
So, back to the toilet seat we went, with its germs and writhing and sweating and promises of M & M’s. And then an hour later, we did it once more, just so Owen could complete his poopy hat trick.
I mean, really? Really? We have engineered a victory over gravity, but can’t find space in this miracle of industry for a 2-foot by 3-foot flat surface? Not one airplane designer, with a toddler at home, said, “Hey guys, what about a changing table?” Is this the airline industry’s not-so-subtle way of telling parents to keep our toddlers out of the air? Are there really no laws requiring this very simple accomodation?
Have any of you had this experience? What did you do? I seriously want to know because otherwise, our little family is probably going to be flight-free for the next decade or so until everyone’s out of diapers.
Before Carpé Season turns into a mommy blog, and before my blood pressure rises to the point of rage/80mmHg, I better end this rant and tell you about these paninis. Basically, I took all of my favorite panini ingredients – pepper-crusted turkey, bacon, sharp cheddar, onions, honey mustard, lettuce – and added thinly sliced apples. That tiny touch of sweetness and crunch pretty much made my fall worthwhile. These taste like fall and are super easy to throw together, very much unlike diapering a toddler on the toilet seat of an airplane. The end.
(recipe by Carpé Season)
(yields 1 sandwich, easily multiplied)
The measurements given for this recipe should be interpreted loosely. Play with them as you please, based on your sandwich preferences!
2 slices sturdy bread (peasant, sourdough, etc.)
1 tbsp. butter
3 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
1/8 c. onions, thinly sliced
2 slices bacon, cooked crisp, and drained on paper towel
1/4 of a medium apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 slices turkey
1 tbsp. honey mustard* (+ more for dipping)
2 crisp lettuce pieces
*Dont' have bottled honey mustard? No problem. Take about and 1/8 c. of dijon mustard and add 1/2 tbsp. of honey. Mix. Add more honey to taste.
Assemble the Panini:
Cook your bacon crisp, draining on a paper towel. Set aside.
Butter the exterior of both pieces of bread.
Place one slice, butter side down, on your work surface. On it, put 2 of the 3 oz. of cheddar. Top the cheddar with the onion slices, bacon, apple, and turkey. Over the turkey, lay the slices from that last ounce of cheese. (This acts like a glue for the panini). Spread the honey mustard on the non-buttered side of your second piece of bread, then place this piece, honey mustard side down, over the top of your sandwich.
Cook the Panini:
Option 1: Heat a frying pan over med-low heat. Cook each side of the sandwich until golden brown (flipping about halfway through).
Option 2: Heat an electric griddle to 300*. Cook each side of the sandwich until golden brown (about 3 mins. per side), flipping halfway through.
Option 3: Place sandwich in a preheated panini press and grill for about 3 mins.
(updated: Option 4: grill it until golden brown on your George Foreman grill.)
Once cooked, slice in half and insert lettuce pieces.