Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I am also inspired by Fred, but I don't give a damn about his cycling.

Fred makes a mean sandwich, and that is something for which I owe great deal of respect.

Once, when my energy was nearly depleted at the end of a long ride, Fred says, "let me tell you about the sandwich I'm going to make: fresh deli turkey, onions, cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, mayo and sprouts on a baguette." For a moment, I forgot about the pain I was in during a full bonk as I hung on every word of that description. It was like Nirvana. So burning my last carb, I made a mental note to myself, "...if you can't be a great cyclist, you can at least strive to make an incredible sandwich."

After the ride that day, I went directly to Hy-Vee to begin practicing this noble art. That is to say, I showered first, then went to Hy-Vee.

As for Fred, it's the sprouts that make or break the deal. Once, he claims to have even eaten a sprouts-and-mayo sandwich, not even realizing until he finished it that the sandwich was meatless. It didn't matter, you see, for the sprouts and mayo were more than sufficient for my boy.

Now I like sprouts too, but that approach is too spartan for me. While Fred's a minimalist, I've never been a fan of modern or contemporary art. I prefer the classics. But I digress.

In regards to the sandwich, you just gotta have the rest of that stuff: crisp lettuce, red onions, sweet peppers, hot mustard, tomatoes, a touch of mayo, etc. to balance all of the tastes and textures.

And while the rest of the ingredients are very important, the bread is the lynchpin. It's like the canvas for a masterpiece.

Here are some tips on selecting bread. First, avoid grocery store bread in a plastic bag. There is absolutely no excuse for Wonder Bread® in your shopping cart. If you must buy plastic-bagged bread, choose a whole grained variety that is substantial in weight. This will not only withstand the tumbling in the backpack during the commute, but it will also absorb a good amount of fluid from crushed tomatoes.

A better choice is to go to the bakery/bakery aisle and select a loaf in a paper sack. A baguette is a good choice here: tough on the outside, chewy on the inside.

Lately, I've been buying whole loaves directly from Jimmy Johns®. Their bread has a nice balance of weight and texture. It tastes great and is baked fresh daily. Moreover, Jimmy John Liautaud agrees with my assessment that the bread is the key to a wonderful sandwich: "With a handful of cookbooks checked out from his local library, Jimmy perfected his award-winning bread." Now there's an artist with a passion.

After you've chosen your bread, make sure to get fresh deli meats, veggies and condiments of your choice. Pile it on liberally and carefully tuck it into a sealable plastic bag. I advise to make the sandwich the night before so as not to rush the richness of the experience before the mad commute to work. Add a bag of kettle chips and a piece of fruit and you're good to go.

Now I'm a rookie in both cycling and the art of sandwich making. That said, if I cared as much about cycling as I did the post-carb throwdown afterwards, I'd be a much better rider than I currently am.

Oh well, when's lunch?


  1. After the bread! The bread is easily the single most important part of the sandwich. If I ever suggested otherwise, it must be that I assumed the bread was a given. Thanks for not mentioning the secret turkey. I just bought a pound of it last night.
    Dinner last Night:
    A salad
    then ...
    covered in mayo,
    chipotle brown mustard,
    secret turkey (Ok, fine. Hy-Vee's V.I.P. turkey. you must ask for it as it is not advertised),
    and ham. real ham. I used a non-processed, maple honey ham.
    Finally there was some baby swiss cheese. Damn. I just drooled on my keyboard.

  2. You're a sandbagger! I knew it! I am an bumbling idiot, while you're a master at his craft! Let's see...Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rembrandt & Fredcube.

    Looking forward to adding avocados & chipotle brown mustard to my shopping list.

    Finally, my secret: $0.54 for one Jimmy John's sandwich loaf. I've also been told that if you go at closing time, sometimes they'll give you extra loaves for free.

    Now that you know, DON'T TELL ANYONE!!!