Work Cafeteria Series – #2 MARIA: THE SANDWICH-MAKING PHENOMENON!

Maria!  Maria!  Maria! (cue the West Side Story soundtrack)

You know how sometimes you will buy a sandwich and the meat is off-center from the bread and you get annoyed when you pick it up because you have “greasy meat and mustard right hand” and too “much bread left hand?”  Or when you get a Chic-fil-a sandwich and the two sacred pickles are stacked on top of each other so you can’t spread the flavor?  Folks, worry no more. 

Maria makes the sandwiches in the building B cafe.  You have never met a sandwich artist like Maria.  People come from buildings around to have her sandwiches.  It is a regular occurrence for a group of NI employees with nothing else in common to talk about  their deep love for Maria’s sandwiches.  Maria – regardless of the length of the sandwich line – looks at life one sandwich at a time.  She will not risk quality to gain efficency.  When two people are making sandwiches, cafe customers will often tell the other sandwich artist “I’ll pass” and get in the second line to wait for Maria.   I would like to share a recent experience with you.

Sandwich: Turkey with Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado

Estimated sandwich-creation time: 1 minute

Actual sandwich-creation time: 4.5 minutes

Summary of why this sandwich takes 4.5 minutes under Maria’s management: Maria will grab a piece of the requested bread.  Maria will then pile 4-5 pieces of meat on your sandwich – CAREFULLY.  She will then lay each piece of turkey on the first piece of bread, slowly, one at at time, then pause to make sure no meat is hanging off the side.  Then she will slice the avocado.  She will slice each piece really small and flat – perfect for a sandwich.  And if one piece isn’t flat anough, she will reslice it.  Then, she will slice any brown part off of the avocado.  Then she will look through all the tomatoes, pick the best ones, and place two tomato slices perfectly parallel on your bread – moving them if they are not perfect the first try.  Next she will carefully scrunch her eyes and salt your tomatoes – one careful shake at a time – and then she will follow with the pepper.  She will place another piece of bread atop her open-face masterpiece, look up thoughtfully and say, “Would you like it toatsted?”

Maria’s sandwiches are delicious and perfectly balanced – every bite is a perfect combination of the sandwich’s flavor plus the addition of a lot of love. 

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  1. #1 by Husbanks on April 17, 2008 - 8:03 am

    It’s nice to hear a story about someone taking pride in their work. I imagine if we all did that, the world would become a better place.

  2. #2 by tierd on April 17, 2008 - 12:44 pm

    You are right! I miss Maria now that I work at home 🙂 Enjoying your blog! Hopkins

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