Scrambled eggs, chopped bacon, and cheddar cheese on a croissant. It’s simple, and it would be far too easy to simply inhale one early in the morning and never think twice about it. There’s a lot going on there, though. A tender, flaky croissant. Fluffy eggs. Crispy bacon. Cheese. The risk of this negligence of attention seems highest at breakfast, I think. The breakfast sandwich is one that is rarely a respite from something else; when one sits down for lunch or supper one is often trying to unwind, taking a short solace in simple pleasures. At breakfast your’re gearing up, considering the day that lies ahead, and as a result your sandwich may get scant attention. In this case, I was at the airport, taking in an early sandwich before I started an extended vacation. I can’t honestly tell you that I gave this sandwich what it was due.
That sort of mindless eating is unfortunate, but the alternative can be even worse. Such was the case with the similar sandwich I got from Manley’s Donuts, also scrambled eggs and bacon on a croissant. My mind may have started to drift, but this sandwich wasn’t having it. The labor required to dispatch tough, chewy bacon functioned as a sort of preliminary roadblock, and the dense, greasy croissant only slowed things further. This compounds the earlier sin, I suppose. The good sandwiches run the risk of passing hardly noticed, but the bad ones refuse to be ignored. In both cases, a sort of lack of effort undermines the whole thing; either you drift away or else you are put upon. I put it to you that true enthusiasm, sandwich or otherwise, requires effort. It requires a certain focus. Don’t we owe that to ourselves? Don’t we owe that to our sandwiches? In instances such as the sandwich from Le Boulanger, such effort pays off in the experience of a very good sandwich. In instances such as Manley’s Donuts, well…take it as a learning experience. The next time I approach the heights of some fine sandwich, I’ll take a brief moment to remember the greasy depths of Manley’s Donuts. There’s no reason to seek out bad sandwiches, but there’s also no reason to let one go to waste.