Category Archives: Books

Chew This Book

Do you have this book? You must!

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National Museum for Women in the Arts Shop

Screen Shot 2019-02-23 at 7.07.15 PMHomie House Press

Sammys is a project that exists at the intersection of food and identity. We have been investigating and documenting the sandwich consumption of many people from diverse backgrounds, careers, and identities. The purpose of this project is to show a parallel representation of who we are by what we eat.

Food is—and has always been—a vehicle to unite people, to overcome differences, and to share cultures and customs. We hope to intersect identities that may have nothing in common if not for a favorite sandwich.

Adriana Monsalve, co-founder of Homie House Press and co-creator of Sammys

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

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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.


Toast Poast Number Pure Poetry

From the days when bananas were novel in the US and a person needed a cookbook to know how to use them. Ham and Banana Bake for example.

The language is charming to my ears. Doily? Did I hear correctly? And did someone say speck of salt?

Have filling in readiness so that sandwiches may be
Put together while toast is hot
Arrange sandwiches on a doily covered plate
Garnish with celery tips and sections of unpeeled orange

Cool and spread between split lady fingers
Then dredge with powdered sugar
For variety omit the sugar topping
And cover with yellow frosting

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She’s got it. Yeah, baby, she’s got it. I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, at your desire.

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While I was preoccupied (for the past 30 years) with the crass onslaught of foodism, merciless time was charging forward though the 90’s and aughts, to a time (now) when a Banana Finger Sandwich seems positively antediluvian. Through a millennial lens, the 8o’s appear prim. Perhaps not Toast-wich prim, but certainly this side of Pearls Negras prim.

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Spoken Through Lips Greased By Pastrami

From MMSMINYJAF (My-Main-Sandwich-Man-in-NY, JAF) who has his fingers on the pulse of pastrami. At Katz’s Delicatessen the pulse is hoppin’! Bauer and Dean Publishers have gotten the sacred word from the whispering pickles.

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The pictures in this tome are almost as nice as the ones I took when there with MMSMINY a few years ago.

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Photographs by Baldomero Fernandez, text by Jake Dell, edited by Beth Daugherty

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Two D to Three

Would you want to put your work out there in search of a patron? Out here in the inner-outer-over-nets?  It’s a message in a bottle in a sea of imagination. May The Sandwich Book wash ashore on a beach of currency.

By the sea, by the sea, will it transform from two d to three?

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This worthy work needs a publisher!

The Sandwich Book is a handmade novel that looks like a sandwich, complete with bread,  fillings and spread.

Thank you, Inspector Lewis, for sandwich sleuthing.

Read This Book

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“It’s hard not to fall in love with My Korean Deli. First, it’s the (very) rare memoir that places careful, loving attention squarely on other people rather than the author. Second, it tells a rollicking, made-for-the-movies story in a wonderfully funny deadpan style. By the end, you’ll feel that you know the author and his family quite well — even though you may not be eager to move in with them.” Corby Kummer, New York Times, March 18, 2011
Read on here.

An excerpt concerning sandwiches follows.
Of course, Dwayne himself has ideas about what things should cost. For instance, not long after we bought the store, Dwayne told Gab that every sandwich had to have at least .37 pounds of meat.

“Point-three-seven?” said Gab. “According to who?”

“Everyone!” said Dwayne. “Just ask – a sandwich has to have point-three-seven pounds of meat. Otherwise it’s not a sandwich.”

A third of a pound of meat – Jesus, no wonder Dwayne’s sandwiches are so popular. With a third of a pound of meat – plus all the extra layers of cheese, toppings and vegetables Dwayne likes to throw on, all wrapped up in a freshly baked hero – you can feed a whold family, and at our store no one ever gets charged more than siz dollars (usually more lie five). Moreover, you get the added value of Dwayne’s performance. Dwyne likes to make sandwich-making sound like thunder, the way he karate-chops the paper off the roll, slams the refrigerator doors and tosses the serrated knife in the tme metal sink. His sandwiches look like if you luanched them on the East River, they would fail to pass beneath the Brooklny Bridge. Customers, unaward of the Pavolvian response he’s induced, pace bak and forth, eyes abulge, peeking tippy-toe over the counter They’re in a trance. By the time they get to the register they’ve lost the ability to speak andd can barely mumble “Howmuchizzit?” Sometimes they don’t even get bothe feet out on the sidewalk before they start tearing off the sandwich paper and eating like grizzle bears, trying to stretch their jaws around that enormous bun. If I were from the neighborhood I’d live on Dwayne’s sandwiches, especially now that it’s wintertime and the price of everything is going up. Ben Ryder Howe, My Korean Deli

Here is a snapshot of the actual deli Mr. Howe owned with his family.

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“Shopkeepers make good narrators because they’re passive and steady,” writes Ben Ryder Howe in his memoir, My Korean Deli: Risking It All for a Convenience Store. “Plus, in the end, something awful always happens to them.”

Howe knows from both narrators and shopkeepers: My Korean Deli follows Howe as he works days as an editor at The Paris Review and nights at his family’s Brooklyn deli. And Howe, though a fairly lousy shopkeeper, makes for an excellent narrator: His book is an engaging and funny tour of the down-and-dirty world of New York City small business, whether that business is an Upper East Side literary magazine (The Paris Review later moved downtown) or a Boerum Hill bodega.

Howe and his wife, Gab, bought the deli as a last-ditch effort to earn enough money to move out of Gab’s parents’ house in Staten Island (“New York’s pariah borough”). But the deli also serves as Gab’s way to give something back to her mother, Kay, a steely Korean immigrant devoted to hard work and hard truths. “What’s the matter?” she asks Howe, when he expresses his desire to own an upscale market rather than a downscale junk-food and phone-card emporium. “You not like money?” Dan Kois, NPR, March 9, 2011 Read more here.

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Absence of Color Provokes Colorful Commentary

White bread can be a loaded loaf. Or it can just be bread. 

White bread, like vanilla, is one of those foods that’s become a metaphor for blandness. But it wasn’t always that way.

Aaron Bobrow-Strain, professor of food politics at Whitman College, tells Weekend Edition’s Rachel Martin that white bread was a deeply contentious food — ever since the early 1900s’ ideas of “racial purity” up to the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960s. He documents that cultural legacy in his new book,White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf.

Read on.

How did we get here? So many food choices. So many complex choices. When did eating become so political?

The last hundred years of so, as food and politics have become closer and closer bedfellows, stuck as tight as cheese on grilled bread, every cent one spends on food becomes more of a statement. Your voice is in your wallet. Read up and then speak up. With authority and thrift.