Monday, April 2, 2012

The Famous Sandwich Revolution of 2012

I am no stranger to controversy. As a student during the universally watershed year of 5th grade, we were assigned extra homework as punishment for not wearing a hat on (no suspense here) “Wear A Hat Day.”  

And I reluctantly took on the difficult role of Whistleblower.

My first step was to enrage my parents on my behalf. And so I wove the tale of the abuse of power that “Wear A Hat Day” had come to represent. This so-called voluntary activity had fallen into the wrong hands, and now was being used as a scapegoat for assigning extra homework. Every authoritarian regime starts with a scapegoat. And I would NOT be theirs. And they would be fools, to let it happen on their watch.

Elementary schools on theme days can be a real powderkeg.

May I Present: The hat I had fashioned from a crocheted cap of unknown origins, plastic straws, cotton balls and several boxes of staples. Remember, I never tried to be cool, so it was OK that I wasn’t.

The day had started strong but the hat was itchy, and the staples proved ineffective. I removed it in the name of comfort and was thusly punished. And the bitter punctuation on the whole sordid tale? The punitive homework. Was MATH homework.

Next: The school principal received a fiery phone call from my parents. Between the two of them they have seen Witness For The Prosecution probably hundreds of times, so this was awe-inspiring to watch, and really set the tone for almost every argument I have made in my life.

We then called to the non-existent stand my best friend’s mother. (Hi Mrs. Keating! How are you?! Remember when Sarah and I ruined your cake by frosting it too soon? I still feel badly! Anyways, hope you are well! Love Frances) She then made a possibly less dramatic, but no doubt equally well-researched phone call.

And the masses were stirred to action….

No idea what ended up happening, but it forged a soft spot within me for feather-rustlers, trouble-starters, and speaker-uppers. Sometimes upsetting the apple cart is the way to go.

And sometimes, they are not apples in that metaphoric cart. Sometimes, that cart is filled with Cuban sandwiches. So…more like “upsetting the Cuban sandwich cart.”

You have a choice when faced with the No Jodas truck. You can either be offended that the loose translation of “No Jodas” is “Don’t F**k Around,” OR you can be full and happy. You can crunch through a nice warm, salty Medinoche and some plantains, and accept that what they are getting at is much closer to “Don’t Mess Around.”

Never had a medianoche? Let’s break it down. Roasted pork, ham, mustard, swiss cheese, and dill pickles on a sweet egg bread. Like all great sandwiches, the medianoche that is known for being served outside clubs in Havana around midnight (that’s why it’s called medianoche, friendo) is a study in contrasts. Salty earthy pork, sharp mustard, and the ooey-gooey chaperone of swiss cheese, making sure no fights break out.

A word on pickles: A pickle is a thing of beauty. As charming/irritating as that bird on the commercials is, he’s right. A great pickle should snap, not bend. But that’s only half the battle. It should snap in half, but it hit you just as hard with a bracing acid flavor and make your eyes water.

Pickles are the Kardashians of condiments. Whether you smell their strong odor, or they just make a lot of noise-you should know they’re there.

So in each bite of a perfect medianoche you should need to use every weapon in your arsenal. Teeth crash through the crunchy crust, and you silently thank god for fluoride in the water system. Jaws destroy the smoky pork inside, just as evolution meant them to. Nose lets you know the dill pickles are there, and your tongue stings nicely because that’s simply the effect that really good mustard has.

The No Jodas truck is absolutely true to its name. It doesn’t mess around with the perfect formula. When I found the No Jodas truck on a rainy Saturday night, I did not want to be messed with. I Even though it wasn’t quite midnight, I wanted a medicnoche to happen to me RIGHT NOW.

They told me their tale: The simple act of naming their truck No Jodas had landed them in a big salty scandal. People were outraged, (OUTRAGED, I tell ya’!) that such a sweary moniker had been chosen. “Vulger!” “Offensive!” A nerve had clearly been hit.

Though, I quite often find some people to be made up entirely of nerves juuuuuust waiting to be hit.

I tried to imagine what these voices might have sounded like (I imagine them like an old-timey black and white movie mob outside a prohibition-era courtroom), but it was hard to hear anything over the crunching of my toasty medianoche.

This is a truck and a sandwich for the rabble-rousers, the agitators, and the instigator. Sometimes all a revolution needs to keep it going is a Cuban pork sandwich with pickles at midnight.

If I have children who are rabble-rousing agitators who instigate and incite, I will be very very proud, and snack-based rewards shall be given.

And if they ever need to be punished, I will dress them like the children in the J Crew catalog. Because let’s face it- no 6 year old wakes up hoping to wear a khaki short-suit and paisley tie to school.


  1. I miss living in fontana now. =( El Gallo Giro you were so close, now so far away.

  2. my mouth is all a wet with anticipation of a good cuban.

  3. Lovely post - but I have no place to get a Cuban in the high Sierras