Soul Food

5 May

Full disclosure:  I’ve never been to Europe.  But I want to get there someday. To visit the pastoral scenes of a real English countryside, to sit in a pub and sip a heavy pint of foaming Guinness, to be surrounded by all those glorious accents?  Seriously, I can’t wait.  In my mind, Europe is quaint and quirky; it’s a small baguette and wine at a cafe by the Seine in springtime, luxurious fresh pasta at a local shop in Italy, castles and ruins, lush gardens perfumed with blooms and overflowing with beauty.

It’s dicey teeth and dodgy alleys, it’s Shakespeare and Jane Austen and Harry Potter and Tolkien.

So what’s with this? The sandwich they tried to ban – Times Online

Are you kidding? I’d expect this out of Rocky IV’s Moscow or The People’s Republic of Berkeley.  But a nursery school in England? So disappointing.  And just like that, my Merchant Ivory dreams are shattered.

The cheese sandwich rocks.  It is simple and delicious, easy and accessible. It’s freakin’ classic.

It’s the very first thing you learn to make for yourself as a kid.  When you slapped those floppy, orange slices of cheese-type product between two pieces of bread, you weren’t just making a sandwich, you were asserting your independence and staking a claim. You may not have been old enough to use a sharp knife or even smart enough to wipe your own nose, but you could feed yourself. (Remember how gummy Wonderbread was and how it caked up behind your front teeth? Remember thinking there were only two kinds of cheese: orange and white?)

Without the cheese sandwich, I’m not sure what my little brothers would’ve eaten growing up. Probably each other.

Now take that simple fare, add a little heat, and you’ve elevated two humble ingredients to soaring heights of culinary greatness. Not to mention what happens when you pair it with piping hot tomato soup on a frosty day. Forget about it.

There is no way the cheese sandwich deserves to be expelled.  Maybe it’s not the healthiest option. Whatever. It nourishes in a different way; like the Krabby Patty, it feeds your soulSpongeBob SquarePants – Just One Bite – .  And the thought of a life with nothing but carrot sticks for lunch makes me sad.

These are dark times.

I ask you to gather your courage and fight this injustice, one lunch at a time.  Rage against the machine!  Go out today and find yourself some cheese.  Put it between any kind of bread, throw your fist to the sky in defiance and then eat it (the sandwich, not your fist). Whether you go for the most elementary version (bringing back images of fishing for sunnys with friends) or the most extraordinary version (I suggest the French Croque Monsieur), or even if you’re stuck and you end up wrapping a flaky tortilla around an old cheese stick, take a stand!  Defend the simple greatness of this classic.  Because unlike my flighty dreams of Europe, the beloved cheese sandwich will never let you down.


2 Responses to “Soul Food”

  1. Andrew May 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm #

    Long live the croque.

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