Bread, Meat…Happiness

I am frankly surprised at myself. I am disappointed in my bad priorities. I have been blogging furiously for over a month, and I have yet to address a topic of enormous importance, a topic none of us can afford to ignore: Sandwiches.

A sandwich can simply be a matter of reaching into the fridge: mayonnaise, sliced ham and/or turkey, and–in the best of all possible worlds–hydroponic lettuce. From the bread basket: a nice big loaf of nutty whole-wheat bread. One knife and three minutes later: Utter satisfaction.

A sandwhich could be a matter of saying to oneself: Hot or cold? Hot or cold? Why the ‘or’? Hot and cold is what I am talking about. Three slices of bacon in the frying pan, two slices of white toast in the toaster, a crisp slice of tomato, two supple leaves of romaine, mayo…oh, yes.

Perhaps we are actually talking about a quick trip to Quizno’s. Or Subway.

It used to be that Quizno’s won that contest, hands-down. a) They were alone in toasting their sandwiches. b) Their combination of flavorful breads and sauces is truly creative. (Some people swear by Potbelly Sandwich Works. To me, their sandwiches are on the petite side. Plus, I am not into getting a can of Coke.)

On the excellent subject of Quizno’s, let me tell you a story. I had just finished an all-day bike ride. The sun was setting as I emerged with a hot chicken carbonara. I hung the bag on the handlebars, and then I bent down to undo my combination lock. As I did, I got a noseful of hot-sandwich aroma that was sweeter than any perfume or incense. I was looking forward to eating that sandwich with a kind of anticipation that only a chaste groom on his wedding day could appreciate.

At just that moment, a lovely young lass approached me and said, “Can you tell me where the Starbucks is?” The Starbucks was right behind her. I am not flattering myself. She had plainly seen the Starbucks. I am not Tom Cruise, but…

A sequence of thoughts ran through my mind like a train: Even if I were not a priest–even if I did not strive to behave like a Christian gentleman at all times–even if I did not fear the fires of hell–if you try to seduce me right now–if you try to wrestle me into a car to ravish me–I will fight you with every ounce of strength I possess, so that I can get home and eat this sandwich while it is still hot.

I pointed to the Starbucks without uttering a word and then rode like the wind back home.

Getting back to the question at hand, though: Quizno’s is sublime, but Subway has made a comback. Now Subway toasts. Now Subway has some pretty excellent sauces, especially sweet onion. It’s hard to justify paying twice as much at Quizno’s. On the other hand, Quizno’s has the superior Italian cold-cut.

Sometimes a sandwich is a matter of: egg salad. There is a deli down the street from me where they make a mean egg-salad sandwich. But the best egg salad I have ever eaten is produced by my brother priest, Fr. Mark Tucker. Sunday-afternoon egg-salad sandwiches in his rectory back when I was a seminarian are some of the most pleasant memories of life.

I am not a fan of seafood restaurants. Seafood is generally over-priced and underwhelming. But sometimes I have to go to seafood restaurants, because people tend to like them. Whenever I walk in the door, I beg God that the menu will include: Soft-shell crab sandwich. This is one of the most fun sandwiches you can get. There is all kind of little creature in there. Claws and flippers sticking out. If you lift up the bread, you can take a quick look at the beady little eyes. Nothing is more virile than consuming an entire organism between two slices of bread.

There is so much more to say on the subject of sandwiches. Please chime in with some juicy comments.

13 thoughts on “Bread, Meat…Happiness

  1. Sometimes I like a plain sandwich with just potato bread, mayonnaise, and ham. I really like sandwiches too. I use to have a sandwich business in high school. I would take orders, the next morning I would make sandwiches and bring them to school fresh. My parents wouldn’t have to give me an allowance. They just bought my sandwich supplies.

  2. Softshell crab sandwich! Who knew that my favorite, “claws and flippers”, would appear on these hallowed pages! You have to pull at least a couple of legs off for the pre-sandwich appetizer. Talk about tasty, make-the daughters-squeal, fun!

  3. Your restraint in protesting and your generosity in providing overpriced and underwhelming seafood are both commendable, Father. Point taken (smile.)

  4. Mmmmm my favorites are

    1) turkey and provolone hot on toasted bread with cold strawberry jam and….
    2) shaved chicken and feta hot with italian dressing, on bread. Mmmmmm.

    Oh Father…your sandwich descriptions make me hungry. Aaaa! Now how about a cereal post….

  5. Genna, that is some mighty interesting eating! How in the world did you first put strawberry jam with hot turkey and provolone? Well, maybe it’s not so bad, it’s almost like a Thanksgiving sandwich – turkey, mashed potatoes, small amount of gravy for sauce, stuffing and cranberry sauce on a dinner roll!

  6. When you are presented with a lot of random ingredients in the fridge and a need to pack a lunch at 5AM, there are infinite possibilities that you wouldn’t consider otherwise. 😉

    I had never thought of a softshell crab sandwich. Sounds delicious!

  7. Random ingredients at 5am, I can relate to! You are much more creative than I am, though. My 4am sandwich is always Land of Lakes deli american cheese, mayo, and 12 grain bread – 1/2 for breakfast (at 5am) and 1/2 for snack around 9:30. What can be more boring than that?

  8. My kids, too, love Quizno’s. As far as the “lovely young lass” goes, I think you would agree that she deserves the “benefit of the doubt”. Perhaps she, too, got a whiff of the chicken carbonara and decided to attempt to distract you with the Starbucks question. and then quickly steal your sandwhich. You never know???

  9. Thank you, Grace, for making this insightful point. You have me dead-to-rights. Let’s assume that she walked past Starbucks without seeing it. I walk past things I am looking for all the time.

    As an aspiring moral theologian, however, I feel the need to point out that if she had stolen my sandwich, that would have been petty larceny (not to mention just downright cruel). On the other hand, she had no way of knowing that I am spoken for. Trying to strike up a conversation with me would have been a perfectly legitimate thing for her to do, albeit reflecting poor judgment and/or bad eyesight.

  10. OK, clearly you are the better person in assuming that this “lovely young lass” was committing a helpless fib to get your attention, because obviously, you are a man to be admired. I, however, considered that a much greater evil was almost taking place; namely, premeditated theft and possible assault. Well, that reveals my state-of-mind.

    I need to get to work:)

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