Having recently enjoyed a vegan sandwich and said some bold things about lunch meats (they aren’t very good), it occurred to me the other day that I might not be being quite fair. To judge them only in comparison to other, more whole meats was to ignore a whole class of meats that easily transition to a sliceable loaf. Though an honest bit of pork may go down a dark road and become ham, it is also possible that it might take a more noble path and end up better for it. In my earlier condemnation of lunch meat I ignored this, and I do a disservice to my dear readers when I see things so myopically.
So today I offer as penance a shot of this delicious sandwich from the Eagle Rock Italian Deli. The bread was a real standout here, a spectacularly crunchy, brightly flavored traditional Italian hero loaf. Lettuce, tomato, provolone and mustard accompanied what I felt was just the right amount of salami, neither too much nor too little. Cheese, of course, is something with which I’ve also had issues. So between the lunch meat and the cheese it’s easy to see myself really disliking this sandwich. But it was really good. Nothing fancy, just very good. And besides, isn’t this how so many people know sandwiches? As a hoagie, or a hero, or a sub? Meat, honest or not, on bread, with cheese. There’s value in that, isn’t there? Certainly there are much greater heights, but…I don’t know. Maybe this was just such a strong example of the idea, or that I was eating it on a sunny, warm day, but I have no issue with it. I didn’t even mind the yellow mustard! It’s not so surprising, I suppose. The right Soprano or Tenor can sing an aria you’ve long grown bored with in such a way that it becomes fresh and new, and you see its beauty in a new light. And so it is with sandwiches, where good bread, good ingredients and a strong hand can take the mundane and work magic.
While I could not and would not enjoy this sandwich today, the photo reminds me of my fatter days, when WCW Nitro meant a foot long Italian sub from East of Chicago Pizza, positively drowned in Italian dressing.
I fondly remember those days, and am glad to be so far past them.
It would not surprise me to learn that we each carry with us the memory of a foot-long, a television, and a different life.
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