One of my favourite things, is 'not my favourite things.' You dig? Don't kill your spirit with familiarity and comfort. Your favourite things aren't that great anymore anyhow, when there's no longer a thrill to consuming/seeing/doing them. Everyone should step outside themselves. More generally, but also particularly pertaining to food. I like finding myself off my own radar. Go visit a different country, or barring that, eat something weird.
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At this point in my life, I've moved out of a city I use to feel was the end-all be all, found myself in strange places, with little certainty about my life, spoke other languages, and learned that the previous ways of being were just my previous ways of being, in ways always more pervasive than I'd imagined. I've couchsurfed, hitchhiked, made best friends out of strangers, and opened myself up to all the unknowable you encounter when you're outside yourself. The friends I've made, and the friends I've known who've gone off and done the same, we tend to agree one one thing about our experience. It's not really about being a culture-phile. It's not about where you are, or how long you stay, though you do grow roots. It's about the new-ness. Traveling, and living abroad is about all the little, tiny things that you get to add to your life, because they are new and different, and unexpected. And it's the unexpectedness that has you constantly reinventing your understanding of yourself. The novelty, and the feeling of learning something every day, or doing something you haven't done before, no matter how small. That's what makes the experience, and once you have that, you can never not have that.
But now I'm back for the time being, and feeling really uninspired and antsy. So I'm glad this sandwich remedied these feelings a bit. I needed something unexpected.
Maybe you don't find this all that daring, but for 25 years of my life, I would not touch goat cheese with a ten foot fork, and until slightly less recently, the thought of cooked fruits made me shudder in disgust. Yes, even in pies. But don't weep for me, I'm free now.
This sandwich reminds me very much of something an expat would make. A few exciting new local favourites, with some ordinary, comforting ones. The chutney has that very foreign spiced scent, that I used to smell wafting out of my next door neighbours' house, as they'd bring out some mysterious homemade traditions to share with us unfortunate, and bland white people across the backyard fence. The goat brie, in thick creamy harmony. And the lettuce, tomato and onion bringing that familiar ordinariness. Made me feel at home, while not being at home, while being at home.
Here's what's in this:
White bean and millet gluten free bread
curry peach chutney
raw blue goat brie
Toast the bread. Very important you remember to do this because everyone knows raw bread is disgusting, and once I made the mistake of pan toasting a sandwich that already had lettuce in it, and it turned out soggy, and that is one of those adjectives you never want to describe your food.
Spread the goat cheese. Didn't use that much, because I didn't want it to overtake the flavour.
Curry peach chutney! Don't know where this jar came from, but it's nice getting pantry hand-me-downs from my parents sometimes, because I end up with stuff I would never think to buy.
Cherry tomatoes and onions. Zest + pique.
Is that not some beautiful simplicity?
Diagonal cut. Otherwise known as the fancy cut I never got as a kid. My sandwiches were so unfashionable.
The Expat Dandy
Verdict? I consider it to be a great failure if a sandwich doesn't have that... "zing" flavour, you know what I mean? This one was SO ON THE MONEY, I would totally make it again. But I'll use more chutney. SO GOOD.