February 28, 2010

The Tao of Sandwich Making

'I will express this only once, but strongly. A sandwich is made from bottom to top on 2 pieces of bread. If it is a roll, the bottom half is the beginning. First it's the meat, then the cheese, then in this order whether you want of it, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, oil, vinager. If you want mustard mayo or something... else, it goes in theTOP piece of bread. Please spread the word.'

Jonathan Edge. Chef, traveler and farmer wanna be.

Jonathan came to La Cucina al Focolare while in Culinary School. He was an all-knowing young 21 yr old whippersnapper with pearly whites and an Irish sense of humor. We took to each other and I became his fairy godmother, finding him a job in Italy
working with Fabio Picchi of Cibreo. He chopped onions for 4 months. He got so good at it, he could do it double fisted with the rhythm of a Japanese working at Benihana. He eventually left to go work on a farm in Denmark. We lost touch for awhile. Then he found me again, no doubt to talk to someone about his passion for real cooking. He is downright serious about all of it. Right down to which piece of bread one should put the mustard and mayo. There is a science to everything, a way. Or perhaps we should call it the Tao.

Jonathan is working in an Italian restaurant in NY and takes the train in from NJ. He reads and writes and calls me once in a while to talk food. Quite the philosopher, he describes the precision and purpose of his passion for food. I listen. There are things he knows. The way he describes what he knows should be written down. He's barely 30. A good cook to say the least. He took a rest from breaking down a pig he got from a farmer upstate the other day and called me. 'I thought you would appreciate that I'm making my own proscuitto.' I can't say that he waxes Shakespearian, but it's close. I could listen for hours. I told him, 'you should at least be writing some of this down, or be a little more vocal about your passion for detail'. I guess he took my advice. 'Please spread the word' he says about the correct way to build a sandwich. 'This is serious business.' I asked him, 'should that be the top or the bottom piece of bread?'

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