Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Or, the art of eating.

When I was younger, all through high school I worked for a Danish bakery and deli. We did some catering, and one of the things that I most dreaded and most enjoyed was when we'd get order for Danish open faced sandwiches, which look rather like this.

They're a complete pain in the ass to make. They're fussy and, because everything on them is on display, even the ingredients need to be perfect - no slapping a second piece of bread on the top to make it all look okay. There are many different kinds, all of which are usually ordered at once (usually as a sandwisch tray for a buffet or some other serve-yourself function), and the logistics of getting all the ingredients prepped and all of them assembled is, in short, a logistical nighmare. There's breaded fish with mayonaise, parsley, and lemon on white break. There's egg with mayonase on white bread. There's liver pate with bacon, tomato, fried onion, parsley, and cucumber on buttered Danish rye bread (possibly the densest, heviest bread on the face of the planet.) There's roast beef (also on buttered Danish rye) with remoulade, cucumber, parsley. And there's more. All of the bread has the crusts cut off. All of it is buttered. All of the toppings and garnishes aren't just laid on, but are cut and twisted and balanced and arranged just so, so you can see all of the bits. And all of these sandwiches need to be put together on the same day, with all of the ingredients prepared and arranged on the same day as they're to be picked up. Again, it's a total pain to make and, I assume, also somewhat of a pain to eat since they fall apart so easily.

But, the fact of the matter is that they're lovely. They're delicate and layered with a lovely collection of flavours. They take time to eat, and make you contemplate what you're eating and how you're eating it. At least, I think they do - perhaps I'm just not so used to eating them.

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