It all began innocently enough. About this time last year my BFF, first cousin and a publishing force to be reckoned with, Ashleigh, was speaking to a small group of very smart women about using social media in her recent job search. She had butterflies and asked me to meet her for a quick bite before we made our way to the Wychwood Barns. “How about Hank’s?” she asked as it was close to her office and mine. I agreed and showed up at half past five, a little soggy from the rain and a lot hungry. I ordered a turkey sandwich. And that’s how it all began.
There are a few things in the world of which I like to consider myself a connoisseur. Among them: chocolate chip cookies, red wine in a box, turkey sandwiches. Turkey sandwiches are my thing, you see. I like them toasted, roasted, with bacon as a Club, on brown, on white, on rye, thick sliced, thin sliced, from the deli counter or a fancy schmancy lunch spot like Hank’s. Taking my first bite of that turkey sandwich on that soggy Tuesday late afternoon was like transcending my love of the turkey sandwich to another level. The bread was fresh, the turkey so moist, and the picillo peppers bejeweling the mayo gave it an unexpected bite.
I polished off my sandwich. We met Gillian and away we went. (Ashleigh did fine by the way, more than fine actually, and those butterflies were all for not.) Days later I was still thinking about that sandwich. I began making them at home, obsessively, hoping to recreate the flavours Jamie Kennedy created at Hank’s. I used bread from Future, bread from St. Andrew’s Market, bread I made in my own kitchen with my own two hands. I roasted turkey, I bought thick sliced turkey, shaved turkey even considered raising my own turkey. I came close, quite a few times, but nothing cut it. I found myself walking through rain, searing heat, sleet and snow (okay, if you know me even a little bit you’ll know the snow part isn’t true) to spend my lunch hour nestled in a corner at Hank’s with that perfect, perfect sandwich.
And then I began to Watch my Weight and sandwiches are generally frowned upon. And then it was winter and I am a hermit and the last thing I want to do in January is walk 12 minutes for a sandwich, even if it is heavenly. But before we knew it it was March again. And I’ve been making my way over the Market every so often to pick up this and that. Last Tuesday I thought I’d treat myself to one of those turkey sandwiches.
I considered turning around, going back to the office, picking up a wrap at the juice bar in our mezzanine. But I didn’t, it must have been the shock at the realization I would never, ever have that perfect sandwich again. No, I didn’t leave, I ordered the roast capon.
Back at my desk I unwrapped the sandwich. Traces of my former favorite sandwich were squished in between the two pieces of limp bread. The lettuce, the shredded aged cheddar, the piccilo peppers. The capon? It was fine. But it wasn’t turkey. I regretted splurging a whole nine bucks on this lack-luster sandwich and hoped that the red velvet cupcakes I had also picked up were better than this (they were). But a cupcake is not a turkey sandwich. and it’s certainly not the turkey sandwich (or sandwish as I accidentally typed).
Mr. Kennedy, I know times are tough… I’ll pay you good money for just one last turkey sandwich if you’re willing.
Almost Hank’s Turkey Sandwich But Not Quite Yet Good Enough
Two slices of good, delicious bread (I like No-Knead Bread)
Mayo (full fat, none of this diet stuff)
Fat slices of gorgeous tomato
Soft leaves of Boston lettuce
Half a good roasted red pepper, minced
Your favorite cheese – sliced, crumbled or shredded (I like aged cheddar)
Non-slimy turkey, sliced thick or thin, to your preference, from the deli or your oven
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1. Mince the roasted red pepper and mix it in a small bowl with a tablespoon or so of mayo.
2. Spread the mayo mixture on one slice of bread and pile on ingredients, starting with the lettuce and ending with the tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Slap on the other slice of bread.