Share and Share Alike

I’m looking to others for inspiration this year, as I am falling short on thankfulness. I feel it in my head, but my heart is a reluctant follower. Some years are like that, a contrast that magnifies the swelling when heartfelt thankfulness does kick in. Typing now, reflecting on the ebbs and flows of happiness, my heart has perked up, a faint slow thrumming in the far corner of one ventrical.

A meal with family and friend-family is sure to kick up the warmth deep down. Is that not the key service of tradition, a trigger to connectedness and interior calm? Jeez, I hope it clicks today. It’s been a tough year in so many ways for so many.

But, as has been remarked many, many times recently, Mother Nature continues to awe us, outside and in – the beautiful trees, the changing skies, the delicious food coming to our tables from gardens and farms.

We may not be able to ask for a command performance of thankfulness, but we can wait patiently, with a place set.

Epic!

The Grace of 46

Forty-six is a Wedderburn-Etherington number, an enneagonal number and a centered triangular number. It is the sum of the totient function for the first twelve integers. 46 is the largest even integer that can not be expressed as a sum of two abundant numbers.

46 is the 16th semiprime.

46 is a beautiful number. 

46 is the number of high peaks in the Adirondacks.  Grace Peak, Sawteeth, Gothics, Gray, poetic names, each peak has one.

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46 Sandwiches in the Adirondacks

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46 thanks to Karen Barry Schwarz and Reuben Jackson for the sandwich missive. Lucky ducks they both near to the Adirondacks. I’m just a mere 512 miles. Meet me for a sandwich, Karen and Reuben, yes? Stand on a peak, drink in the air, raise your face to the sky, unwrap your sandwich. Lunch. Encounter it!

With Gladness Make a Joyful Noise, No Matter How Trying

I took those bites with gladness and I made a joyful noise. It’s a tomato sandwich, for heaven’s sakes. Plus, I had the sandwich in my hand and someone had to do it. For the sake of the picture. Mmm-mmm, it had been too long.

Down in Richmond, that’s the place to eat a tomato sandwich. Did they not originate in the Central Virginia region? Down in Tim Kaine territory. Love that man and am so sorry he is not moving to DC in January.Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Photo by Jeff Saxman

Could this stylist be identified by her dental records? Perhaps. My teeth have not moved, but my lips sure have. It was a tentative smile last week, cautiously optimistic that this country would elect our first woman president. Were I to take a bite of this sandwich today, it would be tear-salted and upside down.

I hope we can all find our common ground, beginning at the beginning, communing with simple food, say a tomato sandwich and on from there, to trust, generosity, and love for all. We’ve got to get resilient, accept what is obsolete, adjust, adapt, reach out, carry on.

Today,  my gladness is in mourning and my joy is blunted. Give me a little time and a little sustenance. You take some, too. Then we will get back at it together, pack ourselves a sturdy lunch and bring on the love. En masse.

Set Up!

Prepared to be frazzled, whipped into a froth, undies bundled, knickers knotted, I found Tyler Kord‘s A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches to be pleasantly un-unpleasant. screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-6-23-41-pm Moderately amusing mostly.

“Some good flavor profiles” said my friend Barbara, using an expression so fraught with marketing-speak that its utterance took me by surprise. She has a point though. screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-6-23-07-pm Mr. Kord is a master of sandwiches in three d. Delicious, drippy and devourable. I know from No. 7 somewhat.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-6-22-44-pm

Seven questions:Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.22.56 PM.png

1. Do we need this book?
2. Do we need it now?
3. Do we need any book about sandwiches?
4. Would anyone actually follow a recipe for a sandwich?
5. Broccoli. Does it belong in a sandwich?
6. Should anything be excluded from sandwichery?
7. Would someone please make me a sandwich?  Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 6.23.30 PM.png

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. May. Be… Were there a book about sandwiches to guide them.

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A Super Upsetting Book About Sandwiches looks super non-upsetting on the kitchen counter, which is why you need it. Put it there. Open.  Put some food in your pantry and fridge. Sandwichy stuff. Ask for a sandwich. Appear upset. Get yourself a napkin. Sit. Do not get your undies in a bundle, your knickers in a twist or your froth whipped. Betting on someone taking the bait. If not, call Tyler Kord. He will thank you for the upset. 212-766-7648

Gotta run. Deadline to meet on my book about okra.

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Shameless Self Promotion Number 4 Billion

Which is bigger, the sun or that bun in your hand?

The solar center is a sandwich, with a shine that outbrights other spinners in the galaxy. Now and then one must turn away or be blinded, so yes, make your lunch a taco today. Tomorrow you will be back, basking in a sandwichy glow, dabbing a mayonnaisey magnetic field from your lips. 

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Photos by Scott Suchman. Styled by your favorite sandwichstronaut – me!

Our global orbit is around sandwiches. No matter how far out your planet, it will eventually be drawn, by a force beyond its strength, back to a sandwich. Count on it. For at least another five billion years. 

 

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Hero of Your Own Story

 

Scott Suchman took these pictures and I made the sandwiches. At the house, which was lovely cause I could be with my dog. And we could all have giant sandwiches for lunch.

To genuinely appreciate Scott you must hear him on the phone with a non-native English speaker spelling out his name. S C O Tee Tee. S C O Teee Teeeee. So patient. So precise. So funny. That is the world for a man who takes lots of pictures at lots of restaurant. Ess Cee Oh Tee Tee.

Scott is a picture man and he is the hero of his own pictures, as he should be.

And then there is the man who wants to talk beyond the patina of his name. About the big stuff. In words. He wants to spell out his insides and how you can be like him. Your name need not be Joseph Cee A Em Pee Bee E El El. His path is not laid out in front of him step by step. His own path? He makes it with every step he takes. That’s why it’s his path. I swear on a stack of salami slices that I am not making fun of him. His words are hoagie-size quotable. And one needs words to live by when stuffing themselves on torpedoes.

The man who said, “You are the hero of your own story” also said:

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

“If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.”

Okay, okay, I get it Joseph Campbell. You are making me exhausted. Now can I go back to following the path of PILING UP THE MOST MONEY BY BEING A BETTER INVESTOR? I know that money is waiting for me.

And then I will sit down and enjoy an unplanned sandwich.

Shameless Self Promotion Number I-Lost-Count

xZms0b87qGja2mYSmo8U-cQX0FC8VtHvZEfCY5x6d2UPhoto by Renee Comet

Renee’s website looks beautiful. Mine is due for an update and that will be happening this fall. Bout time and I’m excited for a new look.

This beef banh mi is from Australian Meat and Livestock. It not only looked amazing, but it tasted delicious – typically not a priority and a major perk for a stylist. Thank you Chef Roy Villacrusis.

The Australians with whom we work always impress me. The stereotypes – those with which I am familiar – apply. Hooray. The Australians I know – only stateside – are fun-loving, hard-working, no-nonsense, unpretentious and know how to eat. What’s not to like? Nuttin.

Australian friends turned me on to an essential food friendKEWPIE MAYONNAISE. How could I not know about this???  Totes adorbs and the top has a star opening that squeezes out ridged ribbons of unctuous tart mayo onto your food. Sandwiches, salads, cold meats, pizza if you are in Sweden. OH, you just want to SQUEEEEEZE it!!

Chef Roy Villacrusis Grassfed Beef Banh Mi

Servings 4

French colonists left the Vietnamese with a taste for baguettes and pâté for their sandwiches—known as banh mi. Chef Villacrusis uses Aussie grassfed steak with the surprise addition of brie cheese. Pickled vegetables and sliced jalapeños add the traditional zing.

Portion size: 1 sandwich
Alternate cuts: Ribeye

Ingredients:
1 pound Aussie grassfed strip steak
Kosher salt and black pepper as desired
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup shredded daikon
1/4 cup thinly sliced bell pepper
1 cup rice wine vinegar
Four each 6″ french baguettes, sliced lengthwise
1 cup prepared liver pâté
12 thin slices of brie cheese
1/2 cup fresh red ribbon sorrel leaves
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup seeded, sliced jalapeños
1/2 cup Kewpie mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
For the steak:
preheat a grill over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Season strip steak with salt and pepper, then cook to medium rare—about 4 minutes on each side. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing very thin.

For the pickled vegetables: Combine carrot, daikon and bell pepper in a small saucepan and top with rice wine vinegar. Cook on LOW heat for 30 minutes. Remove from pot and refrigerate until ready to use

To serve: Toast the baguette halves until slightly crisped, about 1 minute. Spread the liver pâté evenly on the bottom halves. Divide the sliced steak between the bread bottoms. Place 3 slices of the cheese over it. Add the sorrel, cilantro, pickled vegetables and jalapeños. Spread the mayonnaise on the cut sides of the top buns. Season with salt and pepper and put on the bun tops. Serve.

Chef notes: Kewpie mayonnaise is a brand from Japan that Chef Villacrusis prefers for his banh mi. It’s available at many Asian grocery stores.