Wednesday, March 08, 2006

42 and a cheese sarnie...

cheesesand

There seemed to be a bit of a hullabaloo about cheese sandwiches in blog land over the last few weeks. Apart from seeing some rather excellent examples of the art form posted about, I sort of missed what the problem was, if indeed there was a problem with the cheese sandwich in question. Had one particular sarnie offended? or what there a collective decision to raise the profile of this humble meal? I have no idea, and actually don't care, because with all the pro-active cheese sandwich making that occurred it struck me people had missed the point. There was seemingly no pickle.
In one of the Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy books, I forget which, everyman (and serial Brit) Arthur Dent ends up in a village on some rather backward planet. Despite the fact that Elvis is apparently alive and well and running a burger joint there (I may have that wrong, it has been a while) Arthur is well and truly stranded. What does Arthur do when faced with the dire predicament? Does he panic? Of course not. Does he keep his head when all around him people are losing theirs? Yes he does. How? He makes sandwiches. Not just any sandwiches, no, he becomes a master. Everything about the process of making it becomes honed. The balance of the knife, the cuts he makes in the bread, the buttering of the bread. Everything is perfect. The truly Zen pursuit of unthinking action condensed in between two slices of bread.
Douglas was, of course, correct. He always was, that was the trouble with the bloke. He was so unerringly right about stuff. Doing something well, no matter how simple, is one of life greatest pleasures. Making a cheese sandwich should be the stuff of legend. It should matter. I mean getting the right combination and thickness of cheese, the correct ration of cheese to pickle to bread and the decision to include or not to include tomato are matters of the utmost importance. One should strive for greatness, one should strive for perfection. One should try and make the archetype of all sandwiches. Impossible, you say? No, just highly highly improbable, but that shouldn't stop you trying.
There are of many things you could spend your time doing other than thinking, making or indeed eating cheese sandwiches. You could be writing symphonies, novels, spending time with you loved ones, robbing banks, performing elaborate confidence tricks on unsuspecting insurance clerks. Yes, you could do that. Just think how much better it would seem if you had a exquisitely crafted cheese and pickle buttie and a cup of tea by your side. Like I have.

10 comments:

damo said...

You forget the mighty toasted cheese sandwich. And Welsh Rarebit!

Kate said...

Mmmmmm. Pickle! My husband had never heard of the stuff and the first time I made him a grilled cheddar and pickle sandwich his eyes rolled back in his head with pleasure. With a grilled version I like a nice pint of lager on the side.

Sam said...

gloaty bastard

Raspberry Sour said...

I always did appreciate Douglas' elevation of the sandwich into a centrepiece of life for an entire civilization. I wonder if he was speaking from personal experience, or just thought it was a fun quirk to add to the story. Little did he know about the coming wave of food blogging.

cookiecrumb said...

gloaty bastard

John said...

Pickle? Pickle?

This American always assumed DILL pickles were the point of reference. The photo has made all clear. And now I'm drooling. Branston pickle is a specialty round these parts, but one (like HP sauce) that I find myself searching out and stocking in the pantry.

Catherine said...

Mmm.. I'd forgotten all about Branston. I think my jar in the fridge may be older than my kids. Y'gads - someone's pinched it!

So, what's that orange shiny thing under the cheese?

Hageltoast said...

Personally not a pickle fan, marmite on the other hand.... cheese and marmite sandwiches are my current addiction.

Arthur Dent said...

Arthur Dent truly was a "Sandwich Artist" in the 5th Adams book, "Mostly Harmless." After re-reading those chapters, I found I had a sudden inexplicable craving for a chunk of Perfectly Normal Beast on rye.

Pille said...

Seven years in the UK and I still haven't had a cheese & pickle sandwich. I better hurry up before someone finds out and deports me..