[Mount Rushmore is a new weekly series wherein I propose a category and then nominate four items from that category to stand atop a hypothetical Mount Rushmore. The goal here is to foster some good-natured debate in seeking to answer an unanswerable question. Feel free to use the comments to propose your own quartet, discuss the merits of my own choices, and tell others just how wrong they are. I often no guidance on what criteria ought to be applied in answer the question other than that which I choose for myself. Half the fun is in debating the methodology itself. So without further adieu, let’s get it on!]
Oh, the sandwich. One of the culinary world’s greatest inventions. So versatile, so convenient. But which four reign supreme? I’ll tell you…
Peanut Butter and Jelly: A classic. If you think the PB&J is just for kids, you’ve got another thing coming. And, no, I’m not talking about some fancy, deconstructed PB&J made with thousand marmalade made from hand-picked whatever-marmalade-is-made-froms. I’m talking about the original. Two pieces of white bread, peanut butter on one side, grape or strawberry jelly on the other, smushed together. It has just the right combination of salty and sweet. If you use crunchy peanut butter (as any true American should), you also get some nice texture contrast. Finish it off with a glass of milk and all is well in the world.
Cheeseburger: “Wait just a gosh darn minute, Kazzy!” you’re probably thinking. “A cheeseburger is not a sandwich!” Well, Google defines a sandwich as “an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them.” Last I checked, a cheeseburger is just that. You want to argue with Google? Be my guest. I’m pretty sure they have drones and billions of dollars and the entire internet on their side. So, yes, a cheeseburger is a sandwich and it absolutely belongs on Mount Rushmore. A well made cheeseburger stands on its own. But it also serves as a canvas. Want bacon? Go for it. Lettuce, tomato, and onion? Sure. Chipotle aioli? Be my guest. Why a cheeseburger and not a hamburger? Because you’re stupid if your answer to, “Would you like cheese on that?” is no. Or your lactose intolerant. Which is probably worse than being stupid. An ancillary benefit of including the cheeseburger on the mountain is that it reminds us of the bevy of hot but oft-neglected hot sandwiches out there.
Grilled Cheese: Another classic with a world of potential. True story: A diner in my hometown had a dish called the Happy Waitress, which was a classic grilled cheese with tomato and bacon. My friends and I frequently this place regularly after long nights of drinking. One such evening, we asked if we could modify the Happy Waitress. “Can you throw some sausage on there, too?” With each successive night, another addition was made. Ham. A burger patty. Inspired by the grease trucks at Rutgers, chicken fingers and French fries worked their way into the mix. It was a sight to behold, capable of making even the most sober of men vomit uncontrollably. It was dubbed the Horny Waitress (“Because it just can’t get enough.”) and can still be ordered by that name if you get the right waiter. Anyway, such is the potential of the grilled cheese. Though it can also be just as delicious in its most basic format. Ingredients matter… don’t skimp on the quality or quantity of cheese. But you’re pretty much guaranteed a great experience.
Italian Hero: Yes, it’s a hero. Not a wedge or a hoagie or a sub or a grinder. It’s a hero, goddamnit! And the Italian hero is the hero of heroes. Ham, salami, capicola, pepperoni, provolone cheese… an amazing mix of meatiness and saltiness and spiciness. Top it with lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, oil-and-vinegar, salt, pepper, and oregano. Make sure you have good quality bread. Boom. You’re reading to rock. This will fill you for the better part of the day. Mind your ratios and, again, use quality ingredients.
There it be. What ya got?