Food, Humor
Comments 2

The pretentious saudade sandwich.

“How much bread do we have?”

I pawed through the rumpled empty-ish but not quite bags of bread on the bottom shelf of the fridge. That’s the anti-mold area. “Four slices.”

And that’s how it started. Simple enough. Four slices of stale but not yet sticky or fuzzy New York rye with seeds. (Tip: rye bread takes FOR-EVER to get moldy in the fridge. It hardens first. Always edible with some mandibular exercise.) I’m pretty sure the staleness would have been called for if this had been a hipster recipe and not happenstance. Let’s call this the first whiff of pretension. Staled New York Rye.

The WideEyedSpouse grabbed his refrigerator pickles off the shelf-that-is-not-broken on the fridge door. He made them from scratch with local-grown pickling cucumbers purchased from the youngest son at a family farm stand at the local farmers market. Another pretension aromatic wafting through the kitchen.

He plopped a few tablespoons of Trader Joe’s something-sickeningly folksy all-natural mayo into a bowl with an assortment of smoked peppery things from the spice cabinet. The mess became home made adobo mayo or some such nonsense.(Do I need to invoke the P-concept?)

The Spouse crumbed some traditional feta. Come on. Who has a hunk of feta cheese lurking in a slimy brine filled tub in the fridge?

Then the meat. And here is where we hit the pièce de résistance of annoyingly pretentious sandwich. A month or two ago the Spouse long smoked kind of lot of pork loins out in the back yard. Cherry wood smoked them. He portioned them and froze them so that there are wee logs stacked across from the gin-and-tonic-ice trays, under the space stacked with smoked pulled pork packets.

Well, he defrosted one of those little smokey logs and sliced it super, tissue thin. The whole downstairs reeked of home-smoked meat.

He layered the stale bread, adobo mayo, tenderloin, pickles, feta, tenderloin, mayo, bread into a revolting looking stratigraphy of irritatingly foody ingredients. I looked at it sideways. It could not be good – all that different smoked, fermented, aged, whatever all over it…

I took my wine – Bajo (a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)  – that should NOT have gone well with pickles, and settled at the kitchen table. I prepared to be brave and sipped the wine.

And then it was over.

(I’m beginning to weep a little as I write this…)

The pretentious sandwich was, probably, the best sandwich I ever had. And friends, it can’t be repeated. The second attempt will be imitation. Imitation at best. The pickles will be different. The bread not as stale. The wine not exactly the same. Is this…the Portuguese saudade I’m feeling deep in my heart area? Over a sandwich? Friends, I think it might be.

I’m going to go rummage in the fridge.Hopelessly.


  1. Elizabeth Funk says

    Actually sounds pretty good. I keep a loaf of seeded rye in the freezer compartment and thaw slices as needed.

  2. Beth Emma says

    Hey Caroline,

    As always, I enjoyed the post. I love your witty and erudite descriptions that provide insight into the life of you and Matt.

    But can’t get the “gin and tonic ice trays” out of my head. I am hoping for a post on that mysterious freezer item some day.

    Best wishes and hugs,


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