28 April 2009

Munger goes to Germany and some thoughts on Sandwiches

Mungowitz in Deutschland — Day 1:

Anyway, I had a steamer trunk. (A 35' x 22' x 17' steel beauty. It looked like the Millenium Falcon, if the MF were shaped like a steamer trunk.)

[...] I have to admit the train ride was good. The ICEs go fast enough it's actually disconcerting to look out the window. They are BUSTIN' through some German territory. I consider suggesting they rename the ICE trains "Pattons."
I'm always a sucker for a Patton joke.

I will be eagerly following the travels of the Mungwitz, especially since I read his Day 2 entry and found this gem of gastronomical wisdom:
There are several kinds of breads [at the hotel breakfast buffet], including some wonderful dark brown bread. Cereal. Fruit. Yogurt. And huge trays of stuff to put on bread, including large tins of potted leberwurst. And....a big tray of cold cuts and cheese. Salami, olive loaf.

I am pretty excited about this. Because this is traditional Munger food. Not at breakfast, but when you are in heaven who looks at the clock? My dad, Herbert Elmer Munger, had two rules: 1. Everything is better when it is put into a sam'ich.
(1) In my household pieces of salami and torn off bits of crusty bread are a round the clock food. One of the nice things about traveling in Italy is that the hotels put out nice spreads like this with an eye towards the battalions of German tourists, except with Italian (read: better) cold cuts and cheeses. This is one of two nice things about frequenting places with high concentrations of Teutonic travelers, the other being that they are ruthlessly good at queuing in an orderly way, and thus counteract the lazier queuing of my fellow Americans and the more anarchic queuing styles of the East Asians. (Mmmm... stereotypes... yummy.)

(2) Of course everything* is better when sandwichized. Of course it is. Why don't more people understand this?! Thank you, Herbet Elmer, thank you.

An illustrative example from tonight's dinner. Option 1: leftover herb-rubbed chicken from the weekend. Solid, but not particularly motivating. Option 2: slice chicken off bone, sautée some thinly sliced red onion and a couple of mushrooms, add a few cherry tomatoes at the last minute, dress with a drop or two of Caesar dressing and some black pepper and wrap in flat bread of your choosing. That's a sandwich with lifts the spirits and inspires the soul.

(Admittedly I am not convinced about the wisdom of the dressing. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough for the first time making this particular sandwich. A spot of yoghurt sauce might have worked well, but this is not something I am provisioned with, and needs must when the Devil drives.)

* Solitary exception: pasta. I think we can make exceptions to the goodness(sandwich(food item)) > goodness(food item) theorem for values of food item that consist largely of cooked dough themselves.

Before someone says "What about soup?" — because whenever I am evangelizing sandwiches someone always says "What about soup?" and yes, I do evangelize sandwiches — I preemptively counter with soup in a bread bowl. Is it technically a sandwich? It is food surrounded on most sides by bread or similar baked good, so I say yes. Apparently this is not the legal definition in Boston, which mandates that a sandwich must have two slices of bread. Like most legal rulings originating in Boston, this is bullshit, as it would preclude not only sandwiches made by stuffing pita pockets, but also subs and hoagies formed by cutting a loaf of bread less than all the way through. Note that under my definition of sandwich, tacos, burritos, etc. are subsets of the sandwich genus.

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