Would you like a sandwich?

Would you like a sandwich?  I made it just for you.  Well, actually, I made it for me, but now you’ve seen it, and I’m sure you could not help noticing how delicious it is.  It would be quite unreasonable for me to expect such a monumental work of the delicatessary arts to enter your field of vision without it filling its beholder with an insatiable hunger.  I say “insatiable”, but you and I both know that such hunger can indeed be satiated.  By this delicious, delicious sandwich.

Please, I want you to have it.

This sandwich was made with love and care.  And rather a lot of mayonnaise.  It began with two slices of bread.  I used only the finest of all breads.  In fact, it comes pre-sliced from the store.  For reals!  Next, I toasted said bread, one side of each slice delicately coated with a layer of cheese (You have to be careful to make sure the cheesed side is facing “up” in the toaster oven; I learned this the hard way).  I only toasted it for a while because well done toast produces jagged edges upon biting, and this can cause irreparable damage to the mouth roof.  I’m considerate like that.

Once that was done, I found I had two fine specimens of cheese on toast.  They were like two blank canvases on which I could proceed to paint my masterpiece.  I set to work.  First, I draped some slices of roast turkey breast, specially prepared by workers at a factory downtown.  I sure am glad I’m not a turkey.  Those things are so goddamn tasty that if I were a turkey, I’d have to be a cannibal.  Then again, I suppose that wouldn’t be so bad: after all, I’d still get to eat a lot of turkey.

I made sure to remove from each slice the rinds, which I am saving for another project.  Once again, I cannot stress enough the convenience of using pre-sliced materials (though I realize in these economic times, such resources are not available to all).  The absence of knife-use throughout this process greatly reduced the likelihood of cutting an artery or creating any unsightly scars.

Turkey is a much more delicious sandwich filling than sand, which is why I make sure to curtail any sandwich-making activities whilst at the beach.  Bring them shits premade to minimize sand exposure.  Some say, however, that sand is an integral ingredient in the sandwich and that the term “sandwich” is an abbreviation of the commonly heard phrase: “that there’s some sand which is delicious!”.

This is entirely wrong: Sandwiches derive their name from the Sandwich Islands, where they were discovered growing wild by Captain Cook. In fact, until the early 20th Century, virtually all sandwiches came from special sandwich plantations throughout the South Pacific and were therefore available only to the leisure class what with its old money and such.

During World War I, however, Germany, deprived of a natural source of sandwiches by the Allied blockade, developed the artificial, man-made sandwich that has now become the much beloved staple of lunchtimes throughout the world. Kaiser Wilhelm himself personally oversaw the development of the bun which bears his name to this day.

It’s important to know the historical context of your luncheon, but I shall continue with the more immediate past of the individual sandwich in question.

The turkey was then glazed with a liberal dose of mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise is important as its molecular structure makes it the perfect binding agent.  It is, however, rather bland, so I infused the dressing with mustard.  Fear not the yellow colour: over millions of years, mustard has evolved its yellow colour as a defence mechanism to compensate for its alluring deliciousness.  Just as the harmless milk snake mimics the appearance of the deadly coral snake, mustard has altered itself over the millennia to mimic the warning hues of the wasp, the chinaman, and other poisonous creatures.

O, but we mighty humans used our unnaturally big brains to perceive through the deception and tackled the glories full on, with great reward.  We mustn’t get too complacent, though, as mustard is a wiley foe and the processes of evolution have started to swing, pendulum-like, in its favour.  Its defensive strategy now is to aggressively soil its predators.  Cause, y’know, when spilled, that shit’s really hard to get out.

After taking great care with the mustard and mayonnaise, I entered the final phase of the operation: The Greens.  I took a selection of lettuce leaves, each specially hand-picked from the bag I bought at the store, and artfully arranged them on one of the bread-cheese-turkey-condiment stacks.  Piles, I call them, by which I refer not to the ugly sores one sometimes finds on one’s posterior, but rather the analogously composed “piles” of metal cylinders Alessandro Volta used to jolt us into the battery age.  Veritas!

But I digress.

Since lettuce is actually less dense than air, it can be difficult to keep in position, but I nonetheless got it in place and now came the time for the final manoeuvre, the climax of the procedure, as it were.  I stealthily took a hold of the slices and, quicker than a jackrabbit in heat, flipped the one on top of the other (For best results, undertake this step in bullet-time).  Voilà!  I now had before me the very item you see before you.

Look at it.  Isn’t it marvellous?  Think of everything that went into that sandwich.  I do not speak of my humble efforts in the kitchen just now.  No, all of human history is in that sandwich, as if the ebb and flow of peoples and empires across the sands of time has been but a delicate and convoluted scheme to bring that sandwich into being.  That very sandwich which you, my friend, now stand on the verge of consuming.  Yes, you shall become one with the sandwich and all that it represents.  Godlike you shall be.  And of course, the ever present threat of mustard spillage that hangs like the Sword of Damocles over the whole experience adds a thrilling and not unwelcome element of danger.

But all this is immaterial.  We small mortal creatures dwell in the present, trapped by our linear experience of time.  How can any future promises of apotheosis compete against the sensual bliss produced in The Now by that meticulous arrangement of flavours and textures, each one constantly shifting in proportion to the other as the eating experience unfolds over time, producing an aromatic concatenation of flavour moments, each one evoking singular feelings of bliss and contentment?  History can go rot when savouries of this nature are knocking about.  All those colours and tastes, the potential for empirical enjoyment is most exhilarating.

Yes, that’s one delicious sandwich alright.  Danged if I couldn’t go for one myself right now.  Sure looks good.

I rescind my offer.

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~ by Isaac Bickerstaff on February 10, 2009.

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