The best sandwich I ever had was turkey cheese lettuce tomato and mayo on white bread. I ate it at the top of some hike somewhere in Maine. Objectively, the sandwich was bad. It was 2009 and I was at summer camp and we all had to make our own sandwiches to take on our day trips. The turkey was kind of slimy, the tomatoes tasted like cardboard, the bread was so white it got stuck in your teeth. But I was so hungry at the end of this hike, it remains today to be the best sandwich I’ve had.
When you’re hungry, everything tastes better. When you’re starving, slimy turkey tastes like filet mignon.
Most of you who know me well know that sandwiches are my favorite food. I’ve practically become a spokesperson for court street grocers and I’m convinced we’re serving it cut into quarters at my wedding. So how can I, a self proclaimed sandwich expert, love a soggy turkey sandwich?
We can settle for a lot when we are desperate. And I’d like to point out that I don’t give the word desperate any connotation. How are we not all desperate for love? For a good job? For strong connection? Desperation is a core part of our humanity. It’s what’s kept us alive. It’s what led to the invention of the washer dryer probably. Without desperation we’re sort of just haphazardly hanging out. Neither here nor there. Desperation is a fire under our collective ass. It’s necessary and the next time someone calls me desperate I will say thank you.
I’ve watched friends stay or come back to shitty jobs and boyfriends and roommates because they’d rather not be alone. Or they need the job to pay rent and it’s easier than finding a new one. Because a soggy sandwich is better than starving. The mediocre can seem great when given few options. Upon some deep and sometimes painful reflection, I’ve discovered that I’ve been prone to wearing rose colored glasses. To opting for convenience out of a fear of the absence of something, rather than soaking in the absence. A soggy sandwich will curb your hunger, but back at camp and of sound mind, you’d never choose it against a hot juicy burger.
It’s good to recognize when you’re eating for sustenance or when you’re eating for pleasure. You’ve all gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach and spent $50 on random snacks that “sounded good” in the moment. We’ve all gone into a grocery store with a list and left with some peach pomegranate kombucha because it was on sale and sounded interesting. But it’s so important to remember who you were when you wrote the list. That was your logic speaking. Your recipe-planning budget-abiding meal-prepping brain. Grabbing random stocking stuffers at the grocery store because you’re hungry and bored is your emotions taking over. It satisfies temporary indulgence but it can never leave you fully, full.
I’m vowing, going forward, to make more decisions when I’m not hungry. So as not to put mediocrity on a pedestal. Because there are so many good sandwiches out there. And when you have a great one and the turkey is house roasted and the Mayo is Duke’s and the tomato was grown in Jersey in August, you can taste the difference. Happy snacking, Pillowtown, stay satiated.