On toasted rye, with pita and hummus, and a dill pickle spear. Opening the freshly made sandwich box, the moisture of fresh food, the slightly concentrated smell of rye, and the faint hint of the sea wafts out. The plastic container, standardized, yet with food still arranged by human hands with emotion and care, holds in the entire experience, awaiting consumption. The first bite – fish, vegetables, alternating taste of sweet and umami, followed by light crunching and the distinctive taste of toasted rye. An aftertaste that, while not the same experience, still reminds the taste buds of what has happened, leaving them with a longing for what is yet to come. More bites quickly follow, the speed of the jaw alternating to allow each distinctive chew the time to roll the food around.
Normally such a complex sandwich would be overpowered by one taste or another, but the quick taste of fish fades, but holds its own, which the sauce of the vegetables slowly rises for as long as the food is unswallowed. The call of change is heard after a few bites, and the hummus stands proud, but silent – knowing its role, eagerly but patiently awaiting the calling it was made for. Some would argue that hummus and pita is but a simple filler, undeserving of a full place in a meal. I would call such people uncultured swine, but pigs deserve better than to be related with such filth. Quickly, the nutty, chickpea and oil taste fills, softly, but with great reserve befitting the benevolent ruler of an empire, and washes over the tongue.
I go back, and finish the sandwich, refreshed and renewed. The quick pop and hiss, familiar ‘round the world, interrupts my chewing and contemplation. “It’s good,” it declares. The familiar silver can is raised and swallowed, bubbling brown brew cascading down my throat. I concur. Following the root beer interlude, I face the other half of the sandwich. Presumably cooler, and softer, after being left in the sealed plastic, it still beacons with its colorful filling, waiting to truly be filling me. No holds barred, the sandwich is rushed to the mouth, this bite one of fish and mayonnaise. Next, the carrots, the cucumber, those denied earlier fill the majority. Yet even with this imbalance of bites, the overall landscape of the taste remains – each savory bite, no matter how distinct, is always layered with the undertones of everything in the sandwich. Unable to resist, I finish, patting my mouth, stomach full, but mouth empty. Heart content, but fired up. The Bon of the Sea will come again, it tells me definitively. I have every reason to believe it shall.