This Sandwich Deserves a Story

The sandwich

Let me tell you, this body is a temple. 

Of Doom. 

I’ll happily eat anything once.  More often than not, I’ll eat it again.  I’m not one of those super-finicky eaters.  Quite the opposite, I will pretty much jam anything down my craw that I can get my fist around.  Which is not to say that I’m a particularly big eater anymore, but I’m an adventurous eater in spades.

One of my favourite eating stories happened when I was down at my Dad’s place just after Thanksgiving.  They had a fresh loaf of pumpernickle - definitely a favourite for me - and I decided to make a sandwich with anything I could find in the fridge that started with the letter “P”.  Added bonus:  I get to gross out my sisters by eating it in front of them.  Oooh, it was on!

So were the potatoes (mashed), and the peas, and the parsnips, and the peanut butter, and pickles, and pineapple, and parsley, and picante (extra spicy!), and…  Well, I’ve forgotten the entire ingredient list, but I’ll guarantee it contained at least those.  Don’t look for such a sandwich at your nearest fine deli anytime soon.  It really wasn’t all that great.  But the added bonus of not only grossing out my sisters by swooning over this inedible conglomeration of normally edible food items was only bested by the stories it continues to elicit.  Mmmm….

So you’d think that a guy willing to pile pretty much anything biologically derived into his gullet and the more-or-less cast iron gut to be able to process it wouldn’t care that much.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I’ll try anything once, but I really gravitate towards food with rich, complex and strong flavours.

Many years ago I was listening to Vinyl Cafe and one of the stories was about enjoying life.  The example he put forward was spending a little more on the things that really mattered - for instance buying tomatoes on the vine instead of the less flavourful greenhouse varieties.  I thought to myself, “C’mon, can it really make that much of a difference?“  Oh yes.  They’re still not as good as tomatoes you grow yourself, but they’re so worth the extra little you pay.

The other story I can think of is when a co-worker’s mother came from France to visit her.  She brought French cheeses, rich and succulent and heavenly.  “You like them?” she asked incredulously, “Have all you want.“  Somehow we managed to not destroy them all in a day or two.  Smoky cheeses, goat cheeses, soft bubbly cheeses that melted in your mouth, sharp hard cheeses that snapped you alive.  I’ve rarely had such a feast of glorious flavour.

So this story is really about a coming together. 

The past few days I’ve been dying for a good pear.  Funny because pears were one of my least favourite fruits as a kid, but lately I’ve been going crazy for them.  Fat chance finding a nice Bosc, but I have managed to pick up a few different pears over the past couple of days and I’ve been living the dream, baby!  There’s nothing better than having a delicious pear at the end of a fantastic bike ride.  Almost.

The first day I started riding my bike around the city, I took a tour going up north and around Nose Hill Park.  I was coming back and I was thinking to myself, “I should go a few blocks out of my way and stop off at Springbank Cheese and treat myself to something good after I ride.“  Like fate cast in stone, I did not ride a few blocks out of my way, I was two blocks away with the store right along my path.  “Oh dear,” I thought, “It’s only 9:00 in the morning.  What if they don’t open until later?“  They open at 9:00, I was their first customer on Saturday and picked up two delicious cheeses.  A Swiss Tilsiter and delightful Landana Blue Gouda - an organic cheese from Holland.  That’s the one on the sandwich.

In fact, that is the sandwich.  Vine ripened tomato, the Landana Blue Gouda on the tail end of a loaf of bread I made yesterday in my bread maker.  Nothing more, just pure flavour.

It’s the coming together of great ingredients.  It’s also the coming together of my world at the moment.

Planning to take this bike tour and put some extra miles under my belt was strategic for myself.  If I hadn’t went, I wouldn’t have circled around and got the cheese.  I wouldn’t feel the craving for a pear.  I wouldn’t feel the calmness of mind I get on the path.  I wouldn’t have experienced the joy of biking through the rain Saturday, of baking on Sunday and having a dozen funny stories of my ineptitude, of riding out to Chestermere today and doing some basic Tai Chi beside the reservoir.  I wouldn’t have dreamed of setting a goal greater than myself of biking out to Banff.

But the sandwich, like the pear, have left me satisfied.  Free from cravings, except the craving to go out tomorrow and do it once more.