It’s 7am and I’m hungry, But I’m not in the mood for ado8o and rice or noodles stir-fried with vegeta8les. So I opt for toasted bread instead, with butter or otherwise. A thought call out for my attention from the back of my mind, where I left it. ‘Twas a memory of some fried spam that I spotted yesterday afternoon or evening. I found the ziplock bag once again, but tragedy:
There was only half of a thin slice of it left, say, a quarter of my palm. I usually avoided putting people in situations like these. If there was too little of a certain food left in its container after I had taken what I wanted from it, not enough to properly enjoy, I usually opted to take a less for myself, leaving more for whoever came next, or taking all of the thing completely, so as not to burden someone with having to eat only a bit of a certain food. Not enough to enjoy. It sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it.
But I decided to make the most of it today.
However, I knew that with the appetite I had, two pieces of 8uttered toast and half a slice of spam wouldn’t cut it. No, I needed more. I needed peanut butter.
“Peanut butter and spam sandwich?” I thought, “Why not go all they way?”
Thus, the idea of a spam, peanut butter, and nutella sandwich was conceived in my mind. And 8irthed swiftly through the proceeding actions:
White bread, toasted in a toaster oven till brown, the colour being as uniform as possible before the blackening of my bread started. And then: a generous amount of peanut butter slathered onto the first piece of bread. None of that “economy” non-sense, I was a hungry lad, peanut butter left on the knife: consumed, so as not to waste needlessly. I aspired to do the same with the hazelnut-cocoa spread, but it seemed I was running low on that. But I did all that was possible. It resulted in not an unhealthy amount of coverage. Nothing to complain about at all.
And then…. The quarter-palm-sized piece of spam, placed right in the middle of it. A sandwich was born.
I went to take a bite.
Millisecond before the impact of teeth against perfectly toasted bread, an aroma: It was of warm chocolate and warmer bread or cracker, reminiscent of s’mores enjoyed in prior summers. The bread, by now, was a texture so familiar that I forgot to hear it on my tongue and teeth, even my ears. What hit me next was the taste of familiarity. Salty-sweet, almost savoury: the peanut butter. And a hint of cocoa, not unnoticable, but not so present as to bring itself up to the forefront. It was definitely a peanut butter sandwich. I couldn’t complain about that. But what I craved was that chocolate-and-graham-cracker-fresh-from-the-bonfire aroma.
I searched my mind for something to cleanse my palate. I decided on the original peanut butter palate cleanser: some cold milk. I poured a little less than half a glass. It washed away what sandwich was left in my mouth but the peanut butter was too rich. “No matter,” I though, and I went for a second bite. I held the sandwich in my mouth, hoping to catch that sweet aroma on my tongue again. But it didn’t come. The chocolate-graham-cracker essence must have settled by then. But no matter: I still had the adventure of the piece of spam in the middle of my sandwich.
I sought to reach the spam as soon as possible. But the spam was in the middle of my sandwich and that was not how I ate my sandwiches, going for juicy, flavouful middle right away, avoiding the crusts. No, I knew discipline. And I knew that balancing flavour intensity would only add worth to my experience overall. I waited and worked on the edges of the sandwich until I was satisfied with the balance I had crafted, the balance between the flavourful center and the more subdued edges of my sandwich.
It was time to take my first bite into the adventure. I hesitated… started to take the bite in slow motion…. Before I caught myself and did so normally.
I focused all my mind on my experience of this first bite of spam-peanutbutter-nutella sandwich. I tasted the peanut butter and the touch of nutella, felt the crunch of the bread… then, ever so slightly, the taste of salty, processed meat. Its soften and texture. But I was unsatisfied. It was just a hint, just a glimpse into something so… Interesting. Not unpleasant.
I decided it was silly to focus and that I’d be better off letting the experience flow freely. Sort if like, closing your eyes in order to see more. Took another bite…. And the same effect.
I had attempted to cleanse my palate once again with a glass of water before taking that first spam-bite, but I didn’t think that was to blame. I believe there just wasn’t enough spam in the sandwich for me to have really noticed it.
In the same way that Kare-kare, a Filipino meat stew with peanut paste is eaten with a thick sauce of fermented baby shrimp (if I’m not mistaken), it seems the saltiness of the spam got lost in the richness of the peanut butter, just as my small amount of nutella had. The spam’s texture was lost in that richness as well.
But what texture and flavour I did catch a glimpse of in that sandwich, no matter how small, I appreciated. I will no doubt try to make that sandwich again. I now think it a blessing that the nutella didn’t shine through. My next attempt will be peanut butter and spam only, with more spam and less peanut butter. I imagine it to be heavenly.
I looked out the windows in the dining room, past the wheat fields and bright, street-lit highway, at the sky. The sun rose there in the mornings. People in their cars, I imagine, very warm, listening to their radios, on their way to work. And one stranger walking on the bike path just past the fence in my backyard. I stood on tiptoes to see over the fence. No dogs he was walking. I beheld his pace, not in a hurry, not going to work or exercising. He must’ve been walking for his soul.
I thought to go out and take a walk as well, before the sun rose and ruined my beloved twilight. Alas, I went upstairs and wrote this embarrassment of a thing, instead. And by the time I finished it and started to finally become embarrassed by it, I was already in my room, my bed in plain view, and thoughts of this hilarious anime I heard about pushing aside my will to be an active, healthy individual.
Thank you, all who have read this far.