Archive for September, 2010

Weird Sandwiches and the Increasingly Embiggened Role they Continue to Play in my Daily Life (A confessional/recipe collection)

September 18, 2010

One time some bro posed to me the fairly common hypothetical ‘if you could only have one food the rest of your life what would it be?’ and without even having to think about it, I said sandwiches. I was then told that my answer was unacceptably open ended and that I had better try again. I don’t remember what the stakes were or why it was so important that I really nail down a solid answer to a totally bullshit question, but it seems to me that we were being pretty fucking serious. I refused to alter or narrow down my answer, and to my recollection this confrontation was followed by a duel in which I ended that bro.

Just kidding?!

But for reals I love eating things in sandwich form. Lately though, that passion has taken a distinct turn for the weird. This past winter I perfected a pretty good, not-too-grotesque sandwich that has ended up being a sort of gateway sandwich into much more outré shit. That sandwich, named for the town wherein I purchased the ingredients, was as follows:

The Farmington- A pita pocket, slit open about 180° around, inner topside slathered in a generous portion of spicy brown mustard, inner bottom side coated in a thick enough layer of roasted garlic hummus to hold in place 14 mini carrots (NOT baby carrots)* in a gracefully geometric, spatially efficient design. Insert any piece of round white cheese (preferably part skim mozzarella, but provolone will do), and keep that shit mustard side. Between the carrots and cheese goes about 4oz. of mesquite spiced turkey. This sturdy sandwich goes great with a nice stout or brown ale, or a tall glass of skim or 1% milk.

The thing that I like most about The Farmington is that it’s creative without being alienating. I ate this sandwich a lot this past winter and when people asked what I was eating, I had nothing to be ashamed of. I would give a beat-by-beat description of it’s contents, which usually garnered an optimistically curious ‘Mmmm?’ and sometimes even a ‘holy shit that sounds like a hell of a sandwich!’.

Lately, this has not been the case. Or rather, I’m pretty sure it would be the case if there was anyone around to witness the aberrations I’ve been coming out with in the past few months.

The moment I really realized that I was really in a bad way weirdness-wise in sandwich town came at Trail Days in early May of this year. A friend of mine who had justifiable qualms about the security of his pack asked if he could store it in my tent, as he had only a hammock and was not content with it as a storage unit. I told him sure, no problem. Well cut to a few days prior when I was in the checkout line at the Roanoke, VA Walmart with an incredibly queer assortment of groceries, the which were to be my supplies for my week in Damascus. All things considered, I did all right in the supply department, and managed to come out of that Walmart with a decent array of goods (at least, they were enough to keep me alive for a demifortnight). I will offer as my defense that it is not easy to enter an entirely overwhelming store with no list or plan of attack and come out on top when you’ve spent the previous day/night in the company of an old friend staring down the business end of a gravity bong and chasing it with the straw end of a taqueria at happy hour. Any way you slice it, though, I stared at my wares and realized that what I had was the fixins for a weird sandwich.

Anyway, I ended up eating almost nothing but this sandwich all week, and lived in constant fear that my pack-storing friend would eventually catch me in the act of totally ogre-ing one of these little monsters during his frequent forays to my site to retrieve various items from his pack. I should also mention that almost all of my daylight hours of trail days were spent in my tent, recovering from the previous night, so the odds of catching me in the act of eating this sandwich were pretty high. Nearly every time I heard his approach, I was obliged to bolt down the carcass of my WS and every time he hailed me with a cheery query about what I was up to, I was inclined to respond ‘not eating a weird sandwich, that’s for sure!’. I managed to play it off and I don’t think he ever suspected anything. I have named this sandwich for the book that I was reading while eating it, as well as the way I felt about it.

The Needful Thing- Take a fajita-sized flour tortilla and make a large ‘M’ (also a Σ will work, depending on which way you’re looking at it) out of off-brand yellow mustard. Next, throw a slice of Valu Time brand Swiss Flavored Pasteurized Imitation Cheese Food on there and use it to sort of spread around that mustard. Sprinkle a couple of pieces of teriyaki flavored beef jerky onto the cheese and roll it up into a blintz-shaped torpedo of weird. Eat it really fast. Goes great with warm Old Milwaukee or untreated river water.

This sandwich was really the turning point. As much as I was ashamed of it, I was also enamored of it. In my move to Huntington, West ByGod Virginia I have found myself living alone for the first time in my life, and it really couldn’t have come at a more opportune time heterodox sandwich experimentation-wise. I’ve really been able to go goddamn nuts in the sandwich department over these last five months. And nuts I have gone! Here are some more of my total abominations:

Agent Orange- Named in part for the color of its ingredients, and partly for the fact that it just tastes like fucking poison, this sandwich, like its predecessor and it’s usurper, was born out of my general lack of motivation to go to the grocery store and pick up anything to eat that wasn’t just a lonely ingredient of a vague recipe. Agent Orange starts with two pieces of honey wheat bread, both light-mayonaissed to the nines and covered in a loose assembly of baby carrots (NOT mini carrots)**, then sprinkled with a pretty decent amount of shredded taco cheese, and garnished with a few sloppy drunken shakes of parmesan. Goes great with boxed white wine and general malaise.

The Lo-Fi Pizza Open Face- To be honest, calling this open face a ‘lo-fi pizza’ is a bit of a stretch. It’s basically a no-fi pizza, because its fidelity to its inspiration is almost not even discernible, as it gets lost in its weirdness. What you do is take a couple of slices of that honey wheat bread that I mentioned earlier, and put some pizza sauce up on there. Then you garnish it with Kroger’s finest pineapple tidbits (one size down from chunks, one step up from crushed. I was incredibly jazzed to find out that this cut of canned pineapple existed), cover those bad boys up with some shredded mozz’, and sprinkle a little bit of garlic salt and cracked red pepper on there. Now this sammich would probably not even be that weird if it was heated up. It would really be like a little pizza. But here’s the thing- I don’t have a microwave. Here’s another thing- I am so fucking lazy. So one thing you need to keep in mind when eating this sandwich is that you have to hold your breath when you’re going in to take a bite, because if you breathe at the wrong moment you will either find that you have inhaled a sizable portion of shredded cheese and garlic salt, or else you have blown it all the fuck over your lap (that is, if you’re like me and you like to enjoy your weird sandwiches sitting cross-legged on a futon that is permanently set to the bed position, otherwise you probably just got it on your plate or table). Tastes great in the dark with poorly mixed Country Time pink lemonade.

I know that there are some other unusual sandwiches that I have recently enjoyed, but I can’t seem to remember them. Probably because I have repressed them, because they are just to weird to be stored in my memory alongside normal things like ‘how to tie shoes’ and ‘mom’s cell phone number’. I know that my experimentation is far from over, and I look forward to what the future holds for me in this department. And by ‘look forward to’, I mean accept with a not inconsiderable degree of resignation laced with fear.

*Note: The reason it is important to use mini carrots instead of their much girthier cousins, the baby carrots, is that the pita, once split open lacks the structural integrity to bear thata kind of a load. The mini carrots are thin and light enough that when arranged properly they can act as a sort of vertabral column, reinforcing the bottom side of the pita instead or shredding it to ribbons (which will absolutely happen with the baby carrots, so fucking leave them out of this).

**Another Note: The reason this sandwich is better off with baby carrots is simple: they don’t sell mini carrots at my local grocer. They have these things ‘petite carrots’ but I don’t like the look of them. Also, I’ve recently switched to buying carrot chips, because they’re easier to dip in hummus, so hopefully this sandwich is a thing of the past anyway. Good riddance.

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