Holy Sandwich! Edible architecture and the Renaissance section

October 15, 2010

by Nicholas de Monchaux
This article originally appeared in 
SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.


IN HIS SURVEY of Renaissance architecture, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, Rudolf Wittkower uses the buildings of Leon Batista Alberti and Andrea Palladio to advance what has become an enormously influential argument about the relationship between a building’s plan, section, and proportion. As it happens, it is also yet another argument for the enduring appeal of sandwiches.

The argument goes something like this: in their celebrated religious buildings, and in divinely proportioned private commissions such as Palladio’s Villa Rotonda of 1567 (Fig. 1), Renaissance architects developed an idealized vision of architectural proportion. When experiencing such a perfect space first-hand, we are only dimly aware of its true qualities. In order to reveal such a building’s mysteries, we need to look at a very particular kind of architectural drawing, extensively deployed by Wittkower himself: the section.

From the latin secare, or “to cut,” the section is a slice through a building or landscape. While such a slice can technically be in any direction, the word is most often used to refer to a vertical cut, allowing the building’s interior to be viewed from the side. When applied to a building like the Pantheon (a model for much of renaissance architecture,) or Villa Rotonda, the section reveals a precisely perfected layering of space and substance that was contained by what might seem to have been an overwhelming or inscrutable façade.

The effect of the well-proportioned renaissance interior recalls the philosophical musings of Mircea Eliade, Romanian philosopher and author of The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion.(1) In this influential text, Eliade argues the architectural quality of these two spiritual conditions. (Profane, not incidentally, comes from the latin pro-fane, or “outside the temple.”) Eliade contrasts our daily movements around the world in plan (from planum, or the bottom of the foot) with the sectional quality of sacred space, in which we are taken out of this mundane reality into a vertical realm of divine harmony — not incidentally the sectional harmony of sacred space found from temple to mosque to chapel.

And what does this have to do with the sandwich? Atypically, we can find the truth in marketing.

Fig. 2.

When you enter any latter-day temple of the sandwich — from a Venetian sandwich bar to the upmarket Pret A Manger in London or New York — you gaze on a revealing prospect. That is to say, an array of sandwiches (tramezzini in Venice, Fig 2), laboriously assembled from a variety of everyday ingredients, centered on bread, and then sliced, diagonally, to best reveal these contents in all their enticing proportions.

As Alberti wrote of the perfect church, the perfect sandwich is “the noblest ornament of a city and its beauty … surpasses imagination.”(2) The more holy the temple of the sandwich — at Katz’s Deli in New York or Louis’ Lunch in New Haven — the more likely these interior proportions will depart from the humdrum plan-based rectangle of their supporting bread to present a rounded, divine section. That the secret truth of the sandwich is revealed on its sectioning would surprise nobody less than a sandwich gourmet. Alberti’s reflection on perfect proportion in building equally applies to the perfect sandwich, which will “awaken sublime sensations … in such a way that every part has its absolutely fixed size … and nothing could be added or taken away without destroying the harmony of  the whole.” (3) And it is only through the cut that this mystery is revealed.

While the sandwich is thought to be at least a century younger than the Renaissance church, its combination of flavor and economy has ensured that it survives into modern life in a way that sectionally proportioned sacred spaces have not. Recent architectural examples reveal, however, that elegant sectional maneuvers are not lost on contemporary practitioners — especially those that derive their inspiration from the sandwich itself.

Fig 3, Fig 4.

Several notable buildings of the past decade — such as MVRDV’s dutch Pavilion at the Hannover Expo 2000 (Fig. 3) and Kengo Kuma’s Asakusa Tourist Information Center of 2009 (Fig. 4) — provide their architectural delight through a series of maneuvers that would be as anathema to Alberti as they are second nature to a short-order chef. Rather than the precise intersection of spheres, the architecture of such buildings instead relies on the stacking of everyday, even profane, elements  — in the case of the Dutch Pavilion, a polder, forest, and windfarm; in the case of Kuma’s Asakusa Center, a vernacular shed  — and their deliberate elevation through stacking, sandwiching, and then cutting. So revealed, as in the most elegant sandwich, is a nonchalant, overlapping grace. ♥


Fig. 1: Andrea Palladio, (1508-1580) I quattro libri dell’architettura. Volume 1, book 2, plate xv: (London edition, 1715) Villa Rotonda.

Fig. 2: Venetian Tramezzini. (Creative Commons image “La Dolce Vita” by Flickr user Lud Wing.)

Fig. 3: Mvrdv, Dutch Pavilion, Hannover Expo 2000.

Fig. 4: Kengo Kuma, Asakusa Tourist Information Center, Tokyo, 2009.


1. Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane; The Nature of Religion (New York: harcourt, Brace, 1959).

2. Rudolf Wittkower, Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, Studies of the Warburg institute, v. 19 (London: Warburg institute, University of London, 1949), 6.

3. Ibid., 8.

NICHOLAS DE MONCHAUX is assistant professor of architecture and urban design at UC Berkeley. His work has been published in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Architectural Design (AD), and Meatpaper. He is the author of Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo, from MIT Press.

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

Saigon Sandwich: Vietnam’s crunchy cross-cultural creation

October 15, 2010

Story by Julie Wan
Photos by Chloe Aftel
This article originally appeared in 
SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

IT WAS SIX YEARS AGO, but I still clearly remember the first time I tasted banh mi, the internationally popular Vietnamese sandwich. My cousin and I had bought the pork-liver pâté filling from a market in Ho Chi Minh City. When she handed me the little plastic bag filled with brownish paste, I was surprised at how warm it was as I held it in the cup of my hand. At home, we slathered the thick, fatty spread onto fresh bread, and voilà — it was the best breakfast i had ever bitten into.

This was banh mi (pronounced “bun may”) in its original form — a sandwich derived from French- influenced ingredients, a relic from colonial times in Vietnam. Its simplicity recalls skinny Parisian sandwiches with nothing but butter and sometimes ham. But unlike its denser French counterpart, banh mi — which refers to both the bread and the sandwich — is about half the length and usually made with a mixture of wheat and rice flours, giving it a light, crackly crust and an airy crumb.

To the basic bread and pâté, mayonnaise was added, another French-inspired touch. At our home, making mayo was a family affair, with one person slowly dripping oil over a bowl while the rest of us took turns frantically stirring the egg yolk with a pair of chopsticks, beating the orange goo slowly into a creamy lemon-yellow spread that my sister and I licked up with our fingers. Banh mi shops must have a more efficient process, but the best ones still make their mayo in-house with fresh eggs.

In Saigon, the basic sandwich got jazzed up, with a variety of fillings ranging from eggs fried sunny-side up (op la) for breakfast to heartier Vietnamese meats, including grilled pork (thit nuong), grilled chicken (ga nuong), meatballs (xiu mai), and shredded pork skin (bi). The version that’s become most popular is “the special” (banh mi dac biet, also known as banh mi thit nguoi), layered with thinly sliced Vietnamese cold cuts such as pork roll, ham, and headcheese encased in pig skin.

To offset all the rich spreads and salty meats, cooks add julienned strips of carrot and daikon radish pickled to a tangy sour-sweet perfection. and what is Vietnamese food without fresh herbs and vegetables? The meats are topped with a couple of sprigs of cilantro, along with a spear of cucumber and a few slices of chili pepper or jalapeño. The finishing touch is a dash of the Swiss seasoning sauce known as Maggi, though in a pinch, soy sauce can also work.

In the United States, banh mi has long been popular in Vietnamese enclaves in southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, as well as Houston, Texas. At the chain Banh Mi Che Cali, the sandwich is sold at an ongoing buy-two-get-one-free deal. Old-timers who recall when banh mi used to cost $1 still gripe about the whopping $2.50 price tag now attached to the sandwich.

During recent years, the banh mi craze has spread to the rest of the United States, and the sandwich has attracted a cult following from coast to coast. Because who wouldn’t love the banh mi’s mash-up of Eastern and Western influences; its melding of sour, sweet, salty, and spicy flavors; its satisfyingly creamy, crunchy, and crispy textures, all packed into one bite?

 In New Orleans it’s been affectionately dubbed the “Vietnamese po boy”; in Philly, the “Vietnamese hoagie”; and in other places, the “Saigon sub.” Food trucks like Nom Nom in Los Angeles and Rebel Heroes in Northern Virginia bring the sandwich to the people, announcing their locations each day via twitter.

In New York City, where everything gets a makeover, the banh mi has been reinvented into a hip urban sandwich. Though down-to-earth favorites like Banh Mi Saigon Bakery in Chinatown are still popular, trendy delis and cafés with catchy slogans and clever designs have popped up all over the city. Xie Xie in Hell’s Kitchen sells a sandwich inspired by cha ca Hanoi, a dish of turmeric fish and dill. Baogette, which has three locations in Manhattan, serves a Sloppy Bao that includes spicy curry beef and green mango. Williamsburg is a hive of hip banh mi joints in itself, home to Nha Toi, where you can get a banh mi pho inspired by Vietnam’s classic beef noodle soup, and Northeast Kingdom, where the Bushwick banh mi includes pig’s head and foie gras mousse.

A product of cross-cultural exchange to begin with, perhaps banh mi is a natural vehicle for continuing innovation. But for many Vietnam natives, including me, nothing satisfies like a good ol’ banh mi dac biet — that no-fail, on-the-go lunch companion, that road-trip meal of choice, that perfect late-night snack. ♥

JULIE WAN is a DC-based freelance writer who is not afraid to travel far for a good meal. She writes a food blog at, which archives recipes and stories from her Chinese-Vietnamese family.

CHLOE AFTEL splits her time between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You can see more of her work at

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

He’s Got the Whole World In His Bread: The Earth Sandwich

October 15, 2010

story by Marissa Guggiana
illustration by Emily l. Eibel
This article originally appeared in 
SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

THE CONCEPT IS SIMPLE: locate the spot directly across the planet from you, find someone there, and then both place a piece of bread down on the ground, sandwiching the world.

It’s the execution that’s difficult. A little investigation quickly told me what my recollections of elementary school geography did not: my exact opposite is in the Indian Ocean, southeast of Madagascar. Without the aid of a very earnest seaman, this was going to prove an unlikely effort.

The earth sandwich was created by Ze Frank, a man whose blog is a clutter of ideas that invite action and collaboration. Frank believes that an act of heroism, even silly heroism, can elevate. and what could be more heroically silly than turning this whole mess of a world into cosmic, symbolic lunch?

“The fact that the earth has never been a sandwich,” says Frank, “is probably why everything is so fucked up.” Surely there are other reasons. But symbols are powerful, and there is a messy charm in Frank’s thought processes that is found in many great sandwiches.

So far, there have been only a few completed earth sandwiches, due to complications of politics as well as geography. The first was a diplomatic collaboration between Spain and Australia. One Fijian attempted to complete his sandwich by contacting an embassy in Mali. He was told that certainly it could be done, but it would cost him.

Though there is, perhaps a way, to bypass all that. Doc Searls took a single slice of bread and made an open-faced earth sandwich. This poses philosophical problems but is probably just as delicious. ♥

 MARISSA GUGGIANA is the author of Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers. She has recently established the Butcher’s Guild, in support of a meat industry with integrity and fraternity.

 EMILY L. EIBEL works as an artist and illustrator in Brooklyn, New York, but hails from Ohio. Her work has been exhibited across the United States and internationally. Visit her website at

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

A Noble Snack: How the sandwich got its name

October 15, 2010

interview by Malia Wollan
This article originally appeared in 
SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

JOHN MONTAGU IS LORD SANDWICH. The 67-year-old is the 11th Earl of Sandwich and a member of the British House of Lords. Sandwiches as we know them were named after his great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, also named John Montagu. 

The Sandwiches are now in the business of selling sandwiches. 

Lord Sandwich opened the first Earl of Sandwich franchise in 2004 at Disneyland in Florida together with his second son, Orlando Montagu (whose older brother will eventually become the 12th Earl of Sandwich), and Hard Dock Cafe and Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl. 

There are 13 sandwich shops open and 10 more under construction across the United States and Europe selling Earl of Sandwich–themed vittles like “The Full Montagu” (roasted beef, turkey, Swiss and cheddar cheese, lettuce, Roma tomato, and “Earl’s Mustard”) and “The Earl’s Grey Lemonade” (lemonade and Earl Grey tea). 

First, sir, would you please describe for me your version of the story of the origin of the sandwich? 

The term was first used in 1762 after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, was seen among men and women eating meat between bread. My interpretation is that like everyone, he was a busy man; he was someone who had to use the other hand for reading, writing, and other purposes. He was seen having it, and then people started saying, “I’d like one like Sandwich.”

The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him a “profligate gambler” and says the term was coined after he spent 24 hours at a gambling table eating only sandwiches. 

That is an absurd explanation.

The 4th Earl of Sandwich had a distinguished public service career. He ran the British Navy. He funded the explorations of Captain James Cook. Do you ever find it strange that his legacy, and the legacy of your family title, is as the originator of the sandwich? 

You mean something so very trite as the sandwich? 

Not trite exactly, just that he had this full life but that the world remembers him for this peculiar detail about his preference for meat squeezed between bread. 

I think he would have been rather amused. He was that sort of person. He was a bon viveur. He had many different interests. apart from the fact that he enjoyed going out in the company of ladies and had two large families himself, he would have been amused that this is the tradition that survived all the others.

He sponsored Captain James Cook’s exploration of the Hawaiian Islands, which were subsequently called the Sandwich Islands. Have you ever been to Hawaii? 

I’ve never been, though my father used to go often. There were a lot of different places named for the family. In Australia, there is an island off the Great Barrier Reef which carries one of the three family names, Hinchingbrooke. There’s the Montagu state in Tasmania, and there are the South Sandwich islands, as well as Hawaii. In Canada you find the name as well.  It was the age of discovery, and they were using the names of the prominent men of the time.

When your son Orlando first approached you about the idea of an Earl of Sandwich franchise, what was your reaction? Did you have any hesitation about capitalizing on the Sandwich family lore? 

The family joke has always been that if we could have  a royalty on every sandwich in the world, then we’d rescue the family fortunes. We’ve got a good story. It’s pretty unique in the world. Every single small town has a sign saying sandwich. I don’t know of any other name of any family that is in that position. I think the world would expect us to have a bit of fun as a family. If it is an investment, it may also help  to restore some of the valuable things that have remained in the family historically. When it was mentioned that he wanted to start a family company himself, I was very excited. It has proved to be very successful in the United States.

When you see the word sandwich, which you likely see multiple times a day, do you feel a sense of ownership of the name, or have you become blind to it? 

I’m mostly blind to it, really. Sandwich is a title, not a name. Montagu is the family name. We think of ourselves as the Montagu family.

How would you characterize the differences between American sandwiches and British sandwiches? 

I congratulate America for the quality of food and especially bread that I found when I went to the New York World’s Fair in 1964. The idea in England that the Americans can’t make a good sandwich is simply not the case. Here we have a tradition of railway sandwiches. When I was much younger, there was only a triangular sandwich which was served up in British railways. The bread was plastic. The ingredients were dull, and we just knew that England was not the home of sandwiches at that time. Since then, the influences have come in from France and the United States. Now you can get as good a sandwich here as you can hope to have. For the record, the House of Lords now serves a very good sandwich. I’m glad to say we can do it even in Parliament.

What’s your favorite sandwich? 

I tend to eat the sort of sandwiches that hold together. They’re quite simple sandwiches, unlike the multistoried ones that you can get now. I’m still quite attached to the traditional beef sandwich with salad, but I eat chicken sandwiches.

What’s your least favorite sandwich? Something you will never order or eat? 

When it becomes mixtures of fruit and cheese and meats, these are the things I’ve occasionally had to taste. Anything that is more than two or three ingredients I reject.

Many of the Earl of Sandwich shops are opening in airports. Airports are notorious for bad food. Are you at all worried that their negative reputation might sully the business? 

The quality of our sandwich is going to bring people away from all those other terrible places. ♥

MALIA WOLLAN is a Meatpaper editor and contributor to the New York Times.

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.


Gun, with Sandwich: The Internet horde decodes Radiohead

July 15, 2010

story by Toby Warner
illustration by Katherine Streeter
This article originally appeared in 
SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

“YOU WANT ME?” WAILS THOM YORKE. “Fucking well come  and find me / I’ll be waiting / With a gun and a pack of sandwiches.”

And then the question that comes to everyone’s mind: Sandwiches?

The Radiohead song “Talk Show Host” was released as a B-side for “Street Spirit: Fade Out” in 1996. It never appeared on a proper album but garnered a huge cult following when its haunting minor chord melody became Romeo’s theme in Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet. 

Like any genre, music journalism has its conventions and taboos. For me, learning to write about music for money meant forgetting how I heard pop music as a teenager. The first three cassettes I bought, at age 12, were NWA’s Straight Outta Compton, Ace of Base’s The Sign, and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell II. I learned never to admit this. I learned to bracket my enthusiasm, flaunt specialized knowledge, and, above all, not appear to obsess over the lyrics.

Radiohead has never spoken publicly about the sandwiches in “Talk Show Host.” They declined to talk to us about it, on the grounds that they don’t talk to hardly anyone anymore. But if Radiohead doesn’t have any theories to share, the Internet hive mind has them in abundance.

Alongside all the professional chatter about pop music online, there is another, much larger conversation going on. It’s a conversation taking place in the comments sections of all those lyrics sites that pop up whenever you search for a song. There, people are talking about what songs mean. And in the case of “Talk Show Host,” what those sandwiches mean.

Here (in brief and verbatim) is what the internet  has to say:

1. The “gun and sandwiches” is, in my opinion, referring to the preparation one must undergo in order to be in the position of celebrity status. 

2. Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination — the death that triggered WW1, could be referenced in this song by the line: ‘With a gun and a pack of sandwiches’  

Gavrilo Princip who assassinated Ferdinand missed on the first go so he wandered off to buy a sandwich. When he came out, with his GUN AND HIS SANDWICH it just so happened Ferdinand was passing by and he shot him. 

3. the want has driven him so mad that he has an attitude where if someone rejects him, he’ll be completely angered. “a gun and a pack of sandwiches” — if the person he’s with likes him, he’ll eat a pack of sandwiches with them — but if they don’t like him he’ll hurt them

4. i cant really avoid seeing the song in an erotic way… cant get past the “you want me? fuckin come on and break the door down” yeah its hottt  

as for “waiting with a gun and a pack of sandwiches”… you’re waiting for that person to come on a wild journey with you… like PLEASE IM WAITING 

5. Sandwiches are casual. If you were shaking-in-your-boots scared of facing something/someone, would you be eating a sandwich? No. You couldn’t stomach it because of nerves. Maybe the guy is either fearless or hardened. Just musing. 

6. I actually thought this song was about a talk show host in the 60’s who was losing his job and his wife left him and everything and he went nuts one night and locked himself in the stage room and held hostages and stuff. The only thing he had was the gun, sandwiches, and everything else had been taken away from him. The cops ran in and killed him, but this song is like a sympathy for the devil situation. 

7. i always think of the sandwiches as pb&j’s … specifically chunky peanut butter and black raspberry jam … and then i get hungry. 

8. A guy with some kind of sociophobia have nothing to offer but expects some girl starts to love him. He’s locked in his room, sad and introspective… He ain’t beautiful, rich or whatever… Females look for the strongest males in the animal world cause they want to feel safe and have access to food. This still a hidden instinctive characteristic of women. So the guy feels weak and all he can offer is the gun (security) and the pack of sandwiches (food). In other words, he is a complete freak and the only way he could gets into a relationship is to have a woman “breaking his door down”. 

9. “I’ll be waiting/ With a gun and a pack of sandwiches” All of us live in a world outside of nature through our own technological defenses such as a gun, and supplies to survive while waiting– sandwiches in this case. 

10. This song is about eating sandwiches sexily, obviously. 

* * *

It seems like every few weeks someone writes a new opinion piece bemoaning how dire, uncivil, and just plain nasty the anonymous online public has become. Sure, the Internet is full of trolls, but it’s also full of the strange, dreamy, absurd, and incredibly personal relationships that we can have with pop music. Even if we don’t always own up to it. ♥

TONY WARNER was the editor of Boldtype from 2005 to 2010. He has also written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Flavorpill, the Columbia Journalism Review, and ArtistDirect. He is a lifelong sandwich enthusiast;  guns, not so much.

KATHERINE STREETER lives in New York City, where she works on mixed-media collage painting and vintage-fabric-wrapped dolls. She has been published and exhibited internationally and is currently working on a book of collected pieces. You can see more of her work at

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

The Sandwich That Changed My Life: True stories from Meatpaper readers

July 15, 2010

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.

Upon going through reader-submitted essays on the topic of “The Sandwich That Changed My Life,” we never expected that the most compelling would be so heavy on (a) love and (b) pastrami. In the same way that people say you never really know a person until you fight them, perhaps you never truly know a person until you see them confronted with an extremely messy, exuberant sandwich. And so: two stories. One about sandwiches and love lost, and another about sandwiches and love found.

— Heather Smith


I MET FRANCESCA WHILE LIVING IN ITALY. I called her Franky because I loved her. We traveled a lot together and ate sandwiches on the way. Like mile markers on a trail, they told us where we were going, who we had become. In Sicily: dry salame and caciocavallo on crusty loaves. Driving across Wyoming and Nebraska: turkey on rye. In France: baguettes and jambon fumé. The last we ate in a parked car in Chartres while the afternoon rain thumped on the hood. Between bites I suddenly told Franky that I wanted to marry her. I had no ring, no plan. It just came out, unexpectedly. The stained glass, the rain, and the sandwich had come together and flushed my secret out of hiding.

She wanted to come join me in New York. She visited, and often, but time passed and she lost her nerve. One day, Franky boarded the plane home, and we both silently knew it was her last.

Years after the breakup, we finally spoke on the phone. We spoke elliptically, in code, stepping around that wreck in the middle.

Francesca asked me if I remembered the roast beef on pumpernickel.

For her last flight back, I had built her a glorious sandwich. A teetering opus stacked with market tomatoes, onions, pickles, deli mustard, celery salt, and grated fresh horseradish. The thing was glamorous, loud, and delectable. New York on pump. But it was not built for travel. She said that on the airplane she unwrapped the sandwich to find it falling apart in her hands. The bread was soaked through. She ate the sandwich, piecemeal, with her fingers.

“Franky…,” I started. But there was nothing to add. It was all there, already, in the sandwich.




A MOTEL ROOM ON SUNSET, NEAR LA BREA. A fervid afternoon of lovemaking.

Sometime later, the curtains warm with the setting of the sun, he said, “What is it you desire?”

I looked up at him and gave a blissful sigh: “A hot pastrami sandwich.”

Not the answer he’d expected, but he took it well. He’d been mostly vegetarian until he got himself a Jewish girlfriend. He wrote a six-word memoir that went, “Vegetarian meets Jewish girl: eats pork.”

We got dressed and walked the mile and a half to Fairfax. I was very excited. Though I’d grown up here, I hadn’t been in L.A. for nearly a decade.

Canter’s deli serves the best damned pastrami. Ever. Formative pastrami. Pretentious media critic pastrami. Kosher punk rock pastrami. After crashing a party in the Hollywood Hills pastrami.

And now? Postcoital pastrami.

Quickly seated, we ordered the sandwich. The septuagenarian waitress said, “What do I get for customers a couple amateurs? Oy.” One, she said, was not enough to share. She’d bring an extra half.

It arrived. The bread was steamy warm. The caraway seeds were about to sprout. The crust was tough and chewy. Mustard? Russian dressing? Pshaw. The pastrami, its pellicle smoked to near black, melted on the tongue. The fat ran down your chin.

He took a bite. I watched. Bliss washed over his face.

He took a second bite. I sighed. Now he understood.

We ordered another.

TAYLOR THORNE, South Louisiana

HEATHER SMITH is an editor at Meatpaper.

This article originally appeared in SANDWICH, a supplement to Meatpaper Issue Thirteen.