My children have me pinned.
I am confronted with their imperturbable expressions every time I pick them up from school, knowing that their victory is only a dad’s whim away and no further.
“So what’s the plan?” they say in their best white and navy Catholic school uniforms, angelic looking and devious at the same time.
What they want is for me to say that we are going for cheese bread at a favorite Italian restaurant. They get their way about once a week, generally on a Friday.
We are known there, by both the staff and fellow regulars. Tenuously tangential in the loosest threadbare way is that one of the regulars known to us is an inductee of the University of Southern Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame (suddenly topical) because he knocked little yellow balls around a court better than other people knocked little yellow balls around a court. He’s generally there on Friday. He’s very opinionated.
Very, very. Seemingly innocuous questions about a favorite fruit are cause for spilling foolish blood. God help the man that holds a Honey Dew in higher esteem than a Honey Crisp Apple in his presence because he will argue fruit supremacy to the death. He can be counted on to expose a variety of indefensible opinions on which sports are the most demanding and attract the best athletes.
But there is an issue we agree on.
Cuban sandwiches are better that any other sandwiches, hands down, ipso facto, etc. Even hands up - I’ve high-fived the Golden Eagle to cement the agreement. Muffalettas are a really close second though.
I’d do a post about Cuban sandwiches but they should be served hot and good lord, if you plan on being anywhere near Bryant Denny in this weather the last thing you want to do is to make your small patch of the city of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, Earth, The Solar System, Orion Arm of the Milky Way, Local Group of the Virgo Cluster in the Virgo Super Group of the Universe any hotter than it need be. I’d want a cold sandwich.
Make it the day ahead and unpack it from a cooler. The game starts at 11am for goodness sake. You can get there pre-dawn break and stoke the grill through ever changing violet to decent sunrise, but you are punishing yourself and everyone you deem dear enough to bring along.
So Muffaletta it is.
A very non New Orleans Muffaletta
- green olives, roughly chopped
- black olives, roughly chopped
- red bell pepper, roughly chopped
- tinned anchovy, minced
- garlic (tons), minced
This is yet another recipe where proportions are up to you. You know what you like. Take all but the meats, cheese, and bread and toss them in a bowl. The reason this is muffalettesque or muffaletty is because the real deal gets a specific olive salad and they are very regimental about the bread used. We ain’t doing that. Our olive mix is more a deconstructed tapenade. I like a splash of cognac or brandy. If you don’t, substitute red wine vinegar, but just a touch.
I don’t like telling grown-ups to do things that grown-ups can be counted on to do, so I’ll just say cut the croissants and put all the other stuff on it in the most sandwich way you know how.
May I be allowed a divergence? (I’m assuming yes no matter what.)
I called an uncle in the DC area to ask what he thought of Maryland under the Mike Locksley regime. It was before le debacle de Temple so the Terps and their fans were rightly full of vim and vinegar.
He thought it was great - big fun. Then he said that they don’t expect what we do, “down there.”
I try to explain to my young boys who have no experience or recollection of a non-Saban led Crimson Tide that this isn’t the way it will always be. Winning is background for them. Expected.
My Terp uncle was having fun with his team. It’s an unexpected pleasure.
I was fretting that my top five ranked team has rushing deficiencies and defensive depth issues. It made me ask myself an important question: Is my theoretically vicarious escape a source of joy or worry?
Between books I hunt around reading short stories and essays. I came across this a few hours ago from Joyce: “Gazing into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and divided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.”
Damn kicking game. I mean wtf.
Enjoy, no injuries, and Roll Tide.