I am still thinking of Emitt Rhodes and still spinning his record, spinning his songs into the still air of our home. “You must live till you die. You must feel to be alive.” Which begs all sorts of questions concerning semantics. What is it to feel? How does one define being alive? Sentience, what is it good for? Absolutely something!
For whom does the bread toast? It toasts for thee. Sandwich people (everyone!), whether one feels the need to make toast for oneself or a toast steward, aka cook, is dispatched, for love or money, to do it for you, it toasts for thee. Toast, the Maillard effect, the warming, browning, transformational process of heat waves on plant sugars is the kickstarter, catalyst, miracle of cooking.
I feel it. The bread feels it. The toaster basks in sentient satisfaction and the triple hit of generosity – anticipating the act, the toasting itself, then reflection on toast buttered, or not, and eaten with gezellig.
Emitt Rhodes reappeared via WOWD with his song Fresh As a Daisy. Now his album is back in the house, thanks to ebay, and Live Till You Die spins. My dad is 98. My mom is 95. We have been advised – thank you Warren Zevon – to enjoy every sandwich. Every Sandwich. Can one? Every sandwich? I think yes. Enjoy every sandwich until you die. That’s my version of living. Should one leave a mess in the kitchen – bread unwrapped, tomato scraps not composted, mustard smeared spreader – when the reaper arrives, so be it. Bravo!
A sandwich cover can be many things according to the google. What is meant by Emmit Rhodes’ sandwich cover, I do not know, and would like to. Could I call him now, I would, to ask about sandwiches, sandwich covers and to tell him how much I love his music.
When I die I hope to leave, well, nothing with which to reckon – a very flawed approach to the finish line. Competitive runners, cyclists, anyone moving forward with vigor, must pour it on through the finish line, I have been told and see the reasoning. It seems natural to slow as one nears the end. Slow down, look around, access, review, adjust expectations, do a bit of tidying. I do know that life is not a race. I know, I know. Yet there is something to be said – everything – to be all in until we are not.
Tim Carman knows sandwiches. Word. The man eats and eats and eats, drives and drives and eats some more so that the rest of us can eat more targetly. Still and all, his curated list – twenty-five sandwiches – is a whole lotta sandwiches. If a person were to dot the DC metro area map with Mr. Carman’s favorite sandwich joints, then connect the dots via drivable roadways, the route progresses in the shape of a hoagie. Twenty-five dots, twenty-five rendez vous with duo-bread destiny.
I am a tomato sandwich interloper. While that might automatically make me a rabid fan, I hide my late-to-the-game status with nonchalance. Of courrrse, it must be white bread. “I prefer Sunbeam.” See, no hard line for me. Prefer is the word. Just prefer, not a requirement. Duke’s mayo, too. Goes without saying for those to-the-tomato-sandwich-manor born. Shhh, do not shout Duke’s from the rooftop, lest you betray your newbieishness.
The tomato sandwich is an older food, but not that old since it is reliant on white bread, the kind that yields maximum puff from minimum wheat, landing it in early mid-century America. Right? Probably wrong. The Virginia Chronicle references it in 1911, although the bread must have been meatier and yeastier and all that good stuff. Yup, lots of people – anecdotal research here – prefer “good” bread and I can’t blame em. That tomato sandwich is a whole different animal. Worthy. Delicious. Different.
We like lists. I like lists. Lists are arbitrary. Lists are artificial.
We like life. I like life. Life is arbitrary. Life is…so real it is artificial.
Checking off items on a list and noting the dopamine rush – accumulate accumulate accumulate yes! – is my jam jam jam marmalade.
Speaking/writing of marmalade I will never get to France and eat these sandwiches and checkcheckcheck them off a listlistlist. I am familiar with most of them. Does familiarity satisfy?
All so delicious. It is food after all, that weird stuff we put in our mouths to masticate, taste, eat, swallow, digest. Weird, wonderful, sensual, sustaining. Ah. Gah. Yes. Do you want to live forever? No, you do not. Nevertheless, life’s glories are limitless, unmeasurable, vibrating.
Not rushing off to France to eat, yet noting the range of my desire. Feeling more alive for it. Sandwich my desire between buttered bread please. Then take a luscious bite, chewchewchew noting the barbarianism, … of it and STRETCH OUT WITH ALIVENESS.
My Good-Pal-Susan went to Amsterdam and brought me a tube of mustard. And a big chunk o’ gouda. Thank you, terrific friend, neighbor and hard-core mom-squad mate.
A mild variant is the mom I would like to be. Am I? No. As the snake oil of a face cream salesman in Nassau chirped, “Ooh, spicy.” He was not laying a compliment on me. Have I done my son a giant disservice by reinforcing reactivity? Yes indeed I have. His gap year(s) could be seen as an opportunity to create a gap between then and now. A chance to dial it all back, become a milder variant of myself and hope for a little less friction and push back. Only time will tell, as it does always, the slow reveal that is child rearing.
Photo by Mark Snead. I fried the pork belly and squeezed the mustard.
My world has been widened by the Marne addition to the fridge door. The aluminum tube is, as claimed, handy. And our world? The bigger, the better. The smaller we are in it, the better, too. An assist in parental perspective. We are mere specks in a giant universe. Mustard seeds perhaps, if we grow slowly and soundly.
Welcome to the Lunch Encounter, a blog devoted to the mighty sandwich, with particular focus on American regional specialties.
I am Lisa Cherkasky, a Washington, DC-based food stylist, writer and cook. To see some of my work take a look at my website: http://www.lisacherkasky.com