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Thursday, August 25, 2011

California to Georgia Sandwich Love





Riding through the vast desert of Texas can be inspiring to some; however, I’m not the biggest fan of the I10. I am counting my blessings that it’s not hotter than the seven gates of Hell this morning, and that the air conditioning is working well after the few modifications Chris did this week. As always, the gears in my coconut are blazing on a new idea for dinner. In the meantime, I thought I’d touch base on a favorite of all travelling folks, the sandwich. Now, I know we get tired of the same old thing, bologna, turkey and cheese, PB&J. There are so many awesome variations to this classic fare that I really thought some love needed to be given to the sandwich.

When stopping in a truck stop, there seems to be only a few options for sandwiches. Subway, of course, and the cellophane wrapped sadness in the cooler isle. Subway can be great if you have good customer service, someone that cares about how your sandwich is put together, and short lines. This is not always the case as some of us well know. It can also be an expensive habit when you’re trying to save cash to get ahead out here. We really won’t touch on the cellophane sadness, as you have to be desperate to spend money on those wrinkled, smashed, unappetizing processed items. Wal-Mart is an excellent option for those of us that tote 64+ foot vehicles, as most allow some kind of rig parking and are abundant across the US. Those that don’t allow some kind of parking for us have been few and far between, and have only gotten a sour taste in their mouths from those people who don’t respect the rules, leaving trash behind etc. There are several chain supermarkets across the country that are also very trucker/traveller friendly, including Ingles, Fry’s, Smith’s, Hy-Vee, Food Lion, Safeway, Food Depot, Food For Less, and Kroger to name a few. I have my favorites of course, Ingles being the top of my list, but any of these will do.

I have found that the normal, everyday ingredients that most of us grew up on have begun to bore me over the years. I have expanded my horizons, and Chris’s, exponentially over the course of the last few months. Items like baby greens, baby spinach, vine ripened heirloom tomatoes, avocados, hothouse cucumbers, Claussen Kosher dill pickle slices, and thinly sliced red and Vidalia onions are just a few of the interesting additions that have been incorporated as of late. The types of pre-sliced cheeses available have come a long way from American processed cheese food.  If you’re not able to hit the deli, this is an awesome convenience. The creamy, buttery goodness of Muenster, the nutty, smooth flavor of Gouda, the slight tang of baby Swiss, and the availability of herbed cream cheese spreads, add depth and layered flavor to any sandwich. Plain old white bread is not an option for our gypsygourmet, as I have been increasingly health conscious over the last six months, losing a total of thirty pounds in the process. There are many different kinds of amazing bread, but I’ll stick to a few of my favorites; marbled rye, Jewish rye, pumpernickel, oat nut, and twelve grain breads. Croissants are a luxury that I do indulge myself with occasionally, but they’re better saved for the blog on Hollandaise sauce…. Yum J Last, but certainly not least, is the meats. You don’t have to be stuck with cooked ham or pressed meat turkey, and for those bologna lovers out there, there’s an Italian version of it called Mortadella, that is simply put “amazing”. We have been stuck on peppered pastrami, Cajun spiced roast beef, and Cajun spiced turkey. While the cheaper brands offer “more”, the mid-grade to top shelf varieties are always more rewarding. Store brands can surprise you as well, for instance, the Prima Della brand at Wal-Mart is a consistently great product that I’m very partial to. Also, when trying out new items you can always ask your deli rep for a taste of anything they have to offer before buying it. This comes in handy when you don’t want to commit to a large amount of something you may not be fond of. The list goes on and on with these beautiful deli meats, sliced super thin but not shaved, for the maximum presentation. After all, don’t we eat with our eyes first? Who says the three extra minutes of care in our presentation is going to make or break our schedule anyway? I want piles of corned beef, mountains of black forest ham, valleys of spicy brown mustard, and baby greens so fresh the color slaps you in the face. The vine ripened tomatoes out of Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana are so red they hurt your eyes, smell overwhelmingly like the earth they came from, and dance across your taste buds.  So, for now, enjoy the pictures, take your time eating and savor the process. Remember we may have to eat to live, but we can also live to eat. Until next time eat well, laugh often, and drive safe.
gypsygourmet

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