Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FUSSY (11/17/16)
- TITLE: Am I really that fussy?
By Mike Hill
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Roaming the bourgeois area of town searching for a new place to take espresso, his tummy rumbled. Embracing indulgence, he chooses one of those edgy “local” eateries. Involuntarily shuddering upon entering, he notices the owner wearing black skinny jeans and sporting one of those thumbprint beard doohickies. “This choice is convenient and trendy!”, he reminds himself.
The morning had been rough, and he needed something to soothe his tattered soul. Confident that warm, familiar comfort food would relieve the emptiness, he scans the menu. Jumping off the paper, in big bold lettering is, “Tomato Sandwich.” A BLT, all’s well in the world! Or so he thought! In today’s hipness, you cannot judge by upfront words alone; one must read the fine print! The brief but flowery menu description contains the words, brioche, butter, sea salt alongside tomato. Gasping, he wonders when in the world did mater sammiches change – did the earth’s axis shift, did its rotation reverse, did a comet get too close?
The disappointment borne discovering a fake mater sammich parallels the letdown from his encounter with that wanna-be barbecue restaurant. Prominent were red checkered tablecloths, peculiar sauces held in squeeze bottles, and numerous fake antique signs. Waitresses work a bar made of corrugated metal under a stuffed longhorn head looming overhead. They serve neon bright, frozen, fake margaritas (adult Slurpees) in glasses resembling toilet bowls. Their color reminds him of toilet water colored by those blue smelly things. Absent is the primal pleasure of properly smoked brisket. Sensing the hand of the omnipresent bean-counter, he realizes that sipping tea and eating watercress sandwiches with Alice in Wonderland and her cronies was preferable.
With attention returning to mater sammiches, it didn’t take many brain cells for this true southerner to realize that whoever had developed that recipe or whoever wrote that menu did not revere homegrown tomatoes and possibly had never partaken of their exquisite pleasure. Brioche, butter, sea salt – who could’ve thunk that one up? His thoughts fixate on the primary requirements of a proper mater sammich; thick slices of a still-warm-from-the-sun dead-ripe red mater nestled onto a silky smooth and tangy bed of real mayo spread thickly onto two slices of thick, soft, sliced white bread. Add a little salt and some fresh coarse ground black pepper, and you have ambrosia defined! A few (the more, the merrier) thick slices of smoked bacon and a couple of leaves of lettuce make it all better.
It has to be a mater, not one of those hard pink bromide ripened orbs found in the grocery stores! A mater is God’s gift to His beloved, nourished with love, kissed by the sun, and grown with tender loving care. A tomato is different, far different. It was produced hundreds, if not thousands of miles away in an enormous field with millions of others. Intentionally picked green by someone you hope washed his hands after using the porta-potty and packed into a cardboard box by another who may have just picked lint from his belly button. It travels by boxcar across the nation accompanied by any number of vermin only to find itself thrown into a controlled environment containing bromide gas. The gas causing the hard greenness to transform into redness yet preserving the aberrant crispness a tomato ought not to have.
A mater isn’t a commodity; it is the quintessential essence of summer. Partake, and you enjoy the warm embrace of summertime. That red juice running down your arm staining your freshly pressed white linen suit (you don’t wear one while eating a proper mater sammich?) – wear it as a badge of honor – proof you KNOW what a great mater sammich is all about!
Leaving the restaurant, David again questions his inner reality; “Am I that fussy?” Imprisoned in a PC world, he senses he is probably considered a piggish, chauvinistic and opinionated Neanderthal misanthrope. His mind cues the picture of that sliced smoked brisket followed by the picture of that mater sammich complete with the requisite bacon. In his world, the mater and the lettuce neutralize all the bad stuff. “Yep, that’s my logic – and I’m sticking to it!”
"BTW, I’m not all that fussy either! I before E except after C. Weird!"
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