“It’s an Art that Comes Straight from the Heart.” Ask Dagwood.

April 16, the birth of the Dagwood!

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The Dagwood

So, this one summer not too, too long ago, there was a spear fishing tournament in the Gulf of Mexico. The fabulous bf, unknown to me then, reporter for the St. Pete Evening Independent, was assigned to cover the tournament. A fisherman himself, the high speed boat trip 20 miles off shore suited him. That was his bag, no doubt.

Come to find out, Chic Young (Blondie’s creator) was aboard.

This is what I got from Mr. Walston. Myself, I know nothing at all about fishing.

In those days gps did not exist and a good guy could look at coordinates on a map, use a compass, or both. Either way, there was a lot of luck involved. Way out there, the water tends to be 30-40 feet deep,  and the men were free diving, in other words, without tanks. Deep water fish. Snapper and grouper. 

So yeah, the man hung out with Chic Young. On a boat. “I took it that either he was a fishing enthusiast or a diving enthusiast or both,” reports Mr. Walston.

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Did Mr. Young catch anything? Was it purple as he drew it? Did he put it between bread? Only Chic knows.

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Extra! Extra! NYTimes Says “Sandwiches Are Where It’s At”

Holy cow. The field guide. Whatever.

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Bout time. Bandwagon’s been idling at the corner of Sliced Bread and Hold the Onion forEVAH.

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Corned Beeeef in Spaaaaaace

Thank you to my sister Mara for the alert. Today marks the anniversary of a pivotal event – the first sandwich to travel into outer space.

Yes, 50 Years Ago Today , aboard the Gemini 3, a contraband corned beef burst out of our atmosphere and into space.

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The sandwich was corned beef on rye, and it was already two days old when Young whipped it out of his flight suit and took a bite of it two hours into the Gemini 3 mission.

“Where did that come from?” Gus Grissom, the mission’s commander, asked his crewmate.

“I brought it with me,” Young replied, somewhat matter of factly. “Let’s see how it tastes. Smells, doesn’t it?”

So the first and hopefully last smuggled space sandwich wasn’t even good,

 

although better than no sandwich at all.

 

MMSMINY and MMSMIB Sandwich Bill Evans


Brathaus

A few weeks ago I received an email from two ardent Bill Evans fans—James Farber and Larry Goldberg. They wrote to say they had interviewed Evans back in 1976 on a radio station in Madison, Wis., and asked if I wanted to hear it. I said I’d be happy to and, if I loved it and the sound was clean, I’d be most interested in hosting the clip and sharing their story at JazzWax.

Marc Myers on JazzWax

I hope you will listen to the interview above. The stars that aligned to make it happen are chronicled on JazzWax. Incredibly sweet story.

When I first met James (My Main Sandwich Man in New York) he was playing piano in a quartet by the name of Regalia. At the – this a name that does not roll off the tongue – Brathaus. It was the mid-70’s and I’m proud to say I was loving jazz and tending bar you could call it. The drinking age was 18.

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When I first met LRoy (My Main Sandwich Man in Boston) he was hanging around Madison post college, a childhood and best friend of James. No doubt he put in his time at the Brathaus, the Cardinal Bar, all the joints. Plus sharing air time with James at WORT (Stick it in your ear.), a Pacifica station, where they logged the midnight hour and through on to the wee parts of day.

The Br..haus – such a clunker of a name, as a mother-of-a-son I’m mortified – did serve some fine fine sandwiches. Only only only after a series of steps. An order. Could be shouted to you over a crowd, say it’s a Thursday or Friday night and Regalia is playing, or a Saturday and the Badgers are playing. Shouted. Okay, I got it. A burger/brat combo to go, 3 steaks 2 with cheese, 3 brats, 3 orders of fries to stay. Kay, that’s simple. We don’t write it down here, we don’t ring it up, we call it, we hear it back, we grab it, reach for your money, big smile, tight t-shirt, cash drawer bangs open, in we go. Next!

To call that order, ok, here we go. 3 BRATS, 3 STEAKS, 2 WITH,  A BRAT COMBO TO RIDE, 1 FRY TO RIDE, 3 FRIES, ORDERING! And then you hadda listen, hear, and also listen and hear the pile swarm pushing crowd calling for food. Those on the grill, they called it back 3 BRATS, 3 STEAKS, 2 W CHEESE, A BRAT COMBO TO RIDE, 1 FRY TO RIDE, 3 FRIES, no name, you knew it was yours by memory and you grabbed it. Then push it forward, reach for the money, big smile, tight t-shirt, cash drawer bangs open, change returned, all math in your head, and SHUT, tip? tip? tip?, aww we pool em, in we go. Next!

That system was silk. Prescribed by Shorty and Lammy who owned the joint. They built it too and built its parts – the amazing slicing machine, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, the rolls in half half half. Nice rolls they were.  Every other Tuesday, a stint in the basement, smokin brats with a partner, a boy and girl brat-smokin’ match-up.

Every Thursday and Friday, Regalia.  And a packed bar.He/she who booked ’em deserves a medal and a plaque. Brats to the max. Peaches and Regalia. Ordering!

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Corn Toastie Poastie

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 6.37.23 PMLast week Suits-Herself Cindy and I went to hear Tim Kreider read at Upshur Street Books. We’re both fans and were really excited to see him – so excited in fact that we were very early,  had time to kill at the adjacent bar and, in a frenzy of enthusiasm, practically knocked Mr. Kreider off his barstool.

My entree into the labyrinth of his mind was through the essay, The Feast of Pain, which I have excerpted here.

LAST week my friend Mishka and I, wistful about a popular sedative of the 1970s that neither of us even got the opportunity to resist the temptation to take, went to search for “Do they still make ’ludes” on the Internet. Before we could finish typing the words “do they” the search engine autofilled “still make quaaludes.”

Sadly, I’ve been advised that this is most likely an artificially inflated search result. But it occurred to me to see what else might be autofilled, as a sort of unscientific poll or cross-sectional sample of my fellow human beings’ furtive curiosity and desires. I typed in “Why am I” and got: so tired/always cold/so ugly? “Why does”: salt melt ice/my vagina itch/it snow? “Where is”: my refund/Sochi/Chuck Norris? “Why can’t”: we be friends/I own a Canadian/I cry? I felt fondly toward all depraved humanity.

According to the calendar, our long, dark winter is over. Yet those five months without light or exercise, hunching our shoulders in pain whenever we stepped outside, bingeing on Netflix, Jiffy Pop and booze, have left us all at the ends of our respective ropes. (Why does it snow?) Now, by the end of it, I find myself inappropriately cheered by glimpses of my fellow human beings’ despair.

Do they still make corn toasties?

The days are longer now and a little warmer, but not really warm enough. Should you need a nourishing and HOT sandwich to start yet another icy and blustery March morning, this one is good. I especially like it when the egg yolk runs down my arm.

Egg and Greens Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich

1 corn toaster cake*, split and toasted
1 egg
Olive oil for frying, about 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Large handful of cleaned, chopped kale, spinach, chard or other green of choice
Sriracha sauce, to taste
1 slice cheese – Swiss, Fontina or other cheese of choice

fried egg in skillet

Skim the bottom of a good skillet with olive oil and fry your egg to the doneness you like. I made mine sunny side up.

This is a super nice skillet made by Borough Furnace up in Syracuse.

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Salt and pepper the egg, then slide it onto one half of the corn toaster cake.

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Add a little more oil to the pan, add the greens and wilt them over medium heat, stirring them as they cook. Season your greens with sriracha and then scoop them up into a heap.

Lay the cheese slice over the greens, turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let the cheese melt.


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When the cheese is oozy slide the greens and cheese onto the other toaster cake half. Eat your sandwich right away – open-face or closed.

*Thomas makes  Toast-R-Cakes and they are tasty.

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Imagine That!

Scan 1We thought we had to have this in the house. At close hand. I put him on the sandwich scavenger hunt in its pages and he turned up the stuff below. Why do people draw comics? We’re lucky animals to have such powerful imaginations.
digestate 3Drawings by Marc BellAnd here is an interview with the man.

Is anything original? Can we conjure out of nothing? No, we cannot. Why are sandwiches so nearly universal? Bread is at the root. Bread, so fundamental. You start with it –  all its exponential and existential complications – and want to put something on it. Butter, mayonnaise, cheese. You start with nearly nothing – wheat, yeast, water – and can create nearly everything.

digestate

Freshman year, University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took a philosophy class, naturally. First day, professor professing his commitment to the syllabus et al, an earnest freshman raised his hand, was called upon to speak and said, “I am everything and I am nothing.”  Can we conjure out of nothing? No, we cannot.

Still, our imaginations make whole worlds. All the exponents and existents of everything. Or nothing. Haha.
digestate 2I can’t imagine drawing a comic, as much as I wish I could. Such a big world of whatever. A big world of mysterious beings, life, creatures, worlds, adventures, sandwiches!

Last weekend, the bf and I stopped at Smudge and encountered lots of DIY comic folks, including Cole Goco, the creator of Billy the Pop. Cole has created a world. Imagine that, a whole world.  Billy and Cole are both charming and disarming and I wrote to Cole, “Do you have any strips about sandwiches?”  He did and he sent it. Aaw, fishing and sandwiches.  A pop eating a sandwich. Can you imagine? Yes, I could and said so. Cole wrote back, “I’m glad that was enough sandwichiness for you :)”.

A pop eating a sandwich. That’s everything you need.

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Interview with Cole Goco, by Mike Rhode for the City Paper, here.

You Say Sandwich and I Say…Sandwich

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This is how they do it at the Times (above).

Mid-blizzard, juke box lights glowing warmly, the door to the Lunch Encounter swung open and in stepped Barbara Stratton, in a hat, stomping snow off her boots. Barbara’s got a sandwich groove on at Cafe Clementine and she stopped in to spread the good word.

“Porketta,” she whispered. “And gowda.” Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.15.20 AM

“Really,” thought I. We love em both but know them in culinary pig Latin apparently. Gooooda. And porchetta, emphasis on the CH.

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If it roasts slow and low, as her porchetta does, we want in, so  I peppered Ms Stratton with questions. Details. I need the details. Must. Reproduce.

Barbara elaborated, “The sandwich idea was given to me by the butcher at Cronigs. He told me he has eaten it several times in Philly and in his opinion it beats the cheesesteak hands down. I made a few sandwiches with the left over porchetta. They were good but I think they were raised to total EAT ME status by the long hot. I was poking around looking for the sandwich on Philadelphia food sites when I discovered the pepper. It is delicious and easy because you don’t peel or de-seed and it adds a little heat which lands with a yeah!! on the tongue.”

I think she skipped a few steps. My tongue watered, my brain rained pork fat and I was cornfused.

“So, um, what’s on it?” I wondered with deep desire. And what’s it on, I pondered, dreaming of New York breads. There is always always some spectacular and new New York bread source, doncha know. Outloud I said, “Porchetta, long hot and…?”IMG_1638

“The long hot gets its stem removed. Then toss in olive oil and salt and roast until blistered.”

Gotcha.

“We blanch the broccoli rabe, stir fry in oil with garlic and cool. The broccoli rabe needs to be covering most of the pork in a thin layer because you want a yummy taste of everything in each bite.”

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Aha. Will do.

Grandaisy Bakery is in my neighborhood- or just use something that has a nice platform and will toast up crispy.”Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.46.34 AM

“We reheat in a hot oven until the cheese melts-about 7 minutes. Also leave the lid off of the sandwich so it has a chance to toast.”

IMG_1637Nice platform, lid off, done.

And the meat, the meat, the meat, who is the mistress of the meat? Melissa Clark, mebbe?

“Yes,” she confirmed, “I used the “Melissa Clark recipe from the Times. The epiphany struck me after I spent 40 minutes scoring the fat on the one I made on the Vineyard. USE A SERRATED KNIFE! It works like a charm and is no big deal. Just make sure that the fat is cold.”

“I’m gonna set a day aside and dedicate myself to this affair,” sez I grandly.

“Alas,” Ms Stratton warns me, “the porchetta is a two day affair, what with the time to marinate and all—you could make/assemble all of the components on day one, then roast the pork and assemble the sandwich on day two. Also, don’t use a really aged gouda-too overpowering. Just a middle aged and a thin slice-the poke is the thang. ( I did ramp up the crushed red peppers and garlic in Ms. M’s recipe.)”

 So, to recap. One two three GO!

Bottom of ciabatta brushed with oil and a long hot, pork, broccoli rabe, aged gouda, top of ciabatta.

“Happy eatin!” sez B.
One teensy dete stickin’ in my craw. Did she say provolone or gouda??
And have I mentioned that Barbara is the best cook I know? She is a cook among cooks and we are talking peaks.