I wish I had planned for this one a little better and had ordered some salami from a place like Zabar’s or Katz’s Deli in New York City, both of whom are great at shipping right to your door. That’s the classic salami taste. At least it is to Lola. While I was growing up, salami was two things to me: one, it was a favorite character of mine from the television show The White Shadow, and two, it was a deli meat we would never have in our house. We were more of a locally produced Hummel’s bologna house (made right in New Haven). But salami? Never.
Lola on the other hand grew up on salami. Not that she ate it every day, it just sounded like it was a happy occasion when they did have it. It would be something their dad would acquire and knowing him, he’d probably just sit and eat the whole salami cutting off pieces with his knife and eating chunks at a time. He was steeped in salami culture having grown up in Chicago (he probably knew Abe Froman) and would always savor every morsel when he had it. Lola tells me about how they would bring salami sandwiches on plane trips to Florida and I can only imagine the smell of salami wafting through a plane all coming from this one boisterous family who were making the best of their flight. That was life before 9/11.
When Becky and Jeff would invite us all to Chatham to join them on vacation (which was nice), we would bring some salami and make sandwiches for the beach. It was always a nice little addition to the party and fun to have the box from Zabar’s arrive chockablock full of all kinds of delights. I went to Clement’s to get our salami today and theirs was a brand called Citterio, an Italian salami. First off, the salami that Lola’s family loves is the hard salami variety (there are other kinds like soft salami and Genoa salami). Second, they like a nice Kosher salami, not for religious reasons, but because that’s what they know and grew up on. While the salami from Clement’s wasn’t exactly what we had in mind, it was still pretty tasty. I ordered it from the deli counter as a chunk rather than having it sliced and that made it seem a little more authentic when I brought it home. I also picked up a fresh loaf of rye bread while I was there.
On constructing the sandwich, I started with the rye bread – two pieces sliced relatively thin (as thin as I could cut by hand). If I was a purist, I would have slabbed on some mustard here, but I hate mustard (have I made that clear yet?), so I used some mayo on the bottom slice. On top of that I added two slices of fresh native tomatoes (tomatoes are great right now) and then topped that with two nice chunks of the salami. I sent a quick text to Becky about what kind of cheese goes on a salami sandwich, if any, and she let me know that either American or Provolone would be fine (Becky is our cheese professor with a minor in salami). I topped it with some American Cheese and I was finished. I put a lot of love into making this sandwich and it showed. It was a great lunch and a nice thing to celebrate. Lola did not want any for lunch, but later had a few chunks of salami ala Barry Mellow.
Today was also National Beer Lovers Day and I had a little bit of a dilemma. My love of beer is different than most. When you say Beer Lover, I think of those folks that savor everything about beer. They are interested in the brewing process. They have different tastes that they enjoy (“this one’s too hoppy”) and they get excited about new samples from local micro-breweries. Beer loving is it’s own culture and I appreciate those that enjoy it as such. Me? I like beer and I have certainly had my share of it, but at the end of the day, I’m opting for the beer that most beer lovers hate. My top three beers are probably Sol (from Mexico), Miller High Life and Bud Light. I know, I know – but I just like what I like.
That made me think about love and how important it is to support love, especially now. We all have our own preferences and desires. Just because you love your beer for everything it is to you, I can love my beer for the same reasons. It doesn’t make my love any less deserving or any less real. I shouldn’t live in shame or fear because I love a beer that makes me happy. I shouldn’t be judged on that just because your love of beer is a bit more mainstream. Love matters. Love wins.
When 5 o’clock rolled around, Lola, who was unaware it was Beer Lovers Day, asked me if I wanted to go sit outside and have a beer with her. I did. I had put some High Lifes in the fridge earlier in the day, so I packed some up in a cooler along with some Blue Moons for Lola. I brought along fresh orange slices for her too and a fancy glass as well so she could enjoy her beer as it was meant to be enjoyed. We sat down on our Adirondack chairs and watched the day fading away as we sipped our ice cold beers. We only have a few more days like this left before it will be too cold, so we savored the moment together. It was nice and all I could say was cheers to more days like this with the people and the beer we love.
Next up: National Date Nut Bread Day