WTF, BLT?

Everywhere you look these days, there’s a sandwich. Magazines,  websites, the radio, those straggler crumbs on your chin from lunch. (You’re welcome.) Maybe it doesn’t concern you to know that there’s a sandwich lurking around every corner. Well. Maybe it should.

Sandwiches are sneaky little things. Collectively, they’ve spent generations cultivating an unassuming air, acting nonchalant. “Hey, buddy!” you’ve no doubt heard a sandwich say. “Want to shoot some hoops on Sunday afternoon? Have a couple of beers at the Irish pub after work?” A sandwich wants you to know that its only plans are to chillax with you. So naturally, you wouldn’t hesitate to approach one on a day when you weren’t in the mood for introspection.

That’s how the world works. You become an adult, you poke around for a while trying to figure out what everyone else means by “boundaries,” and then one day you realize. There are certain people you go to for soul-baring conversation. With the rest of the world, it’s beers and sandwiches. Every once in a while there’s a complicated case. You twinkle in each other’s vicinity for a short while, then you go your separate ways, each a little wiser. Pretty much by definition, a sandwich should fall squarely into the beers and sandwiches category. We all learned that axiom in middle-school math.

All of that is exactly why you’d be completely justified to find yourself out of sorts — or even a little pissed off — if a sandwich took it upon itself to intervene in your most closely guarded thoughts. A BLT really has no place holding up a mirror to your evolving selfhood, illuminating its core truths. Everyone knows that. Everyone, that is, with one important exception. The BLT apparently missed the memo. And this is where cause for concern arises.

It’s true that the BLT carries on its diminutive frame the weight of two countries’ honest histories. According to Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, the BLT probably derived from Britain’s “bacon butty” into the American classic that has graced humble diner counters and grand hotel menus since the 1920s. So the urge to wax nostalgic in its presence isn’t entirely unfounded. But for some “unknown” reason (namely that I take every possible opportunity to overthink everything, always), in the time it took to toast a pair of retro-sized slices of white bread and fry up a few strips of bacon last week, I’d managed to disrupt several self-truths that I’d always held to be self-evident.

I’ve been looking forward to our move to London in July as a way to make my sometimes small-seeming world bigger again. But my BLT questioned whether the size of my world doesn’t have more to do with my “own self” (as the two-year-old would say) than where that own self happens to live. London may be a new beginning, but as people tend to do, we’ll be arriving with our old selves in tow. Then there’s the related question of plots and themes. I’ve never had much need for a juicy plot. Whether we’re talking fact or fiction, it’s a juicy theme I’m looking for. What’s a trip to the farmers’ market without “Small groups of strong-minded individuals pursuing a better world can triumph over larger evils one step at a time?” What’s a first cup of coffee in the morning without “Engaging in solitary, highly personalized rituals can create the kinds of deep commonalities that hold a society together?” (What’s reading this blog without “OMG I think I can see into your head a little too well right now, Umami Girl?”) Theme vs. plot has never been a close call in my mind. So, says the BLT, why the sudden need to disrupt perfectly good lives with a noticeably plot-intensive tale of overseas adventure?

WTF, BLT? Cut a girl a break. I don’t know when we became this kind of friends, but if you weren’t such a delicate balance of restraint and indulgence, a perfect specimen of trans-Atlantic evolution, I might just put you down and walk away. But since we both know me well enough to realize that I’d never do that, I guess I’ll just go get a beer. Hint, hint.

Bacon, Avocado, Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich

Adapted from Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches. Makes one sandwich.

Ingredients
4 slices bacon
2 slices white bread
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/4 ripe avocado
2 slices tomato
2 romaine lettuce leaves

Method
Pan-fry the bacon until just crisp. Drain on paper towels. Toast the bread lightly. Spread the mayonnaise on one slice of bread and the avocado on the other. Layer the bacon, tomato and lettuce on top of one slice of bread and top with the other slice of bread. Cut sandwich in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

  • You’re seriously off your rocker, and I’m totally digging it. Also, a BLT (white toast, mayo on the side) is my all-time favorite sandwich. Theme versus plot THAT.ReplyCancel

    • I would also have accepted “You’re a total rock star,” or “You seriously remind me of my favorite superhero,” but I’ll take what I can get.

      How’s this: What’s a BLT (white toast, mayo on the side) without “The harsh uncertainties of the modern world — from the Sadie Hawkins dance to the bitterest political unrest — cause people to seek gratification in predictable pleasures. It is comforting to trust in the collective wisdom, but it is foolish to leave too much to chance.(I’m lookin’ at you, mayo.)”

      Also, bacon is its own theme.ReplyCancel

  • Truly? You’ve lost me now. But I’ll still eat a sandwich with you and happily listen to you yammer on in your own special language. I find it soothing.

    And you ARE indeed a superhero/rock star. I assumed that was a given.ReplyCancel

  • OK, I’ll say it. “You, Carolyn, are a total rock star!” This post is wildly playful and fun, like you and a good BLT. Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Ha! Thanks, Susan. But let’s keep the focus on the rock-star status of your fabulous little book!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel

    Awesome post. Your ability to weave grand sammy history with Mead-esque philosophies, and wrap it all around across-the-pond horizons (and all that involves) is truly amazing. Needless to say, I may need to defrost that bacon that is in the freezer…ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, lady. I had to refresh my limited knowledge of Mead when I read your comment, and it led me to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Do other people know about this? What a cool resource.ReplyCancel

      • Rachel

        IEP – cool resource! I, unfortunately, mis-spoke and probably sent you down a random path that got you wondering what the hell I was talking about ;-). I should have clarified that I was talking about Margaret Mead, not George Herbert Mead. But why would you know that since I said ‘philosophies’ rather than anthropologies. My bad. Its the themes that you muse on in your paragraph 6 that reminds me of Margaret Mead and her classic quote “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” But I like the challenge of relating George Herbert Mead to your writing too :-) Also, I realize that not all families refer to sandwiches at “sammies”…. Leave it to me to be so darn confusing in a simple comment ;-)ReplyCancel

        • Oh! I probably should have figured that out, given your background. But it actually works perfectly with the little I now know of G.H. Mead as well, me forming thoughts through a conversation with a sandwich. But no problem. I’ll take both despite deserving neither!ReplyCancel

  • you really can’t go wring with a good blt. Extra avacado is mandatory ;)ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

C o n n e c t
B u z z