Sandwiches as a Metaphor for Life

emily - pgh, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 28, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe life can be as simple or as complicated as making a sandwich.

When I was a kid, my family would pack up the car in the middle of the night and head towards the beaches of the marvelous Delmarva Peninsula. Complicated. This is an area on the Atlantic seaboard where Delaware, Maryland and Virginia meet. This pilgrimage meant a few things to me. The first being a welcomed relief from the summer heat of the city, but more importantly, it meant the first tomato sandwiches of the season. We would stop at a local fruit and vegetable stand while waiting to check into our new home for the week. Once in, I would leave the tomatoes on the deck so they would be warmed by the sun, their juices flowing. Smear a bit of mayo on whatever bread is handy, a sprinkling of sea salt and voila, deliciousness. Simple. After having one, I would make myself another. Then I would make a batch for my now ravenous family who were on the beach patiently waiting for their sandwiches. I still love tomato sandwiches and eat them all summer long.

I am a sous chef at a French catering company. At work, even though we are surrounded by an extensive variety of delicious foods, we basically live on sandwiches for lunch. Goods from the local bakery generally serve as the back drop for these yummy concoctions. The sandwich can feed as few or as many as necessary. They can be hot or cold. They may or may not be fattening. I usually start with marinated roasted red peppers and some arugula that has been dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. The arugula gently wilts from the heat of the fresh baked bread, a generous drizzle of a balsamic reduction, and perhaps a few ingots of some delicious foreign cheese, grilled vegetables or Italian cured meats. I could go on, but suffice to say, if it is in our kitchen, we have tried it on a sandwich.

It is up to me what I put on my sandwich. Too many ingredients and the tastes get lost in the jumble of flavors. Too few ingredients and the sandwich may be lacking and lifeless. To attain the perfect balance of taste and texture takes a bit of time and knowledge of the components.

Ignorance can be complicated and not at all tasty. Not taking the time to savor individual pursuits and challenges may be simple but will lead to a life filled with what ifs left on the table.

I believe that people should take the time to try new types of sandwiches. Through this culinary exploration one can open their senses to new flavors and perhaps a different view of the world. Life like sandwiches can be as simple or as complicated as you let them become. That is the beauty; you have the personal choice to devour them or not.