Friday, December 05, 2008


Yesterday I met up with my friend Alex, who is a Scottish mathematician who works on piatic ... numbers? sequences? Did I mention that I've never even taken calculus?

Anyhow, Alex is great fun and is a pretty fantastic ambassador for math as a way of life/religion/drug. He uses rapturous adjectives to describe how great math is. In short, he's a breath of fresh Scottish air. We go to Raleigh's together once every couple of weeks, and he talks to me about things that I'm pretty sure are making my mind crack, like the idea that different prime numbers have different distances, and that somehow these distances translate into alternate universes in which mathematical concepts that seem simple to us seem outlandish to those hypothetical residents of those other universes, and what seems incomprehensible to us is like adding for them.

But I digress.

Yesterday, I was feeling peckish and so I ordered myself a sandwich. Three years away, first in a country with pretty fantastic sandwiches (ma3quuda?! hello!), and then in Spain, where the sandwiches are terrible* (with a couple of notable exceptions) somehow made me forget that other than my regular Cheese-n-Stuff fix, California sandwiches are to be avoided.

There are a couple of reasons: first, one of the ingredients on the sandwich was avocado. What I was served was an avocado sandwich with a little bit of some other stuff.
Second, I was never asked what kind of bread I wanted (and, as far as I remember, the menu didn't give any options.) It was honey whole wheat (as far as I can tell). That's almost parodically Californian.

The main problem, though: the bread:filling ratio was all wrong. And that's not just there; it's symptomatic of the California sandwich.

In this weird coastal universe with beaches and Atkins diets, you would think that the bread slices would be normal, if not tending to thin. But no: this was a tall sandwich. And two-thirds of that height was too-thickly sliced bread. Each slice was about three times as thick as a slice of, well, sliced bread. Blech. Even after making the sandwich open-faced, there was still too much bread for the amount of filling.

Never again.

I'll still keep going back to Raleigh's to have my mind blown by Alex and his mathtalk (Did you know that there's something in math called a motive? There're probably also plots, narratives, and backstories.) I'll stick to the $2.50 pints, though (and maybe I'll get some onion rings; some of those came with my sandwich, and they were crisp and tasty.)

* an explication for my Spanish friends: Spaniards are sandwich literalists/fundamentalists. In Spain, when a sandwich is billed as a cheese sandwich, it consists of bread ... and cheese. Which I guess is alright, if that's what you want. What I usually want is for there to be a pile of green leafy things and tomato and mustard and mayo and swimming in vinegar.


Blogger MORGAN said...

3 words:
cardamom pretzel rolls


I look forward to cooking with you.

3:22 PM  

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