ShoreBilly's Swill on ShoreBread

Have you ever had a meal that was so incredibly delicious, so memorably epic, or so repugnantly disgusting that you have to tell people about it? Not only did that just happen to me, but it just happened to me right here in my own kitchen, and all three of the above mentioned descriptions are applicable.

Before I had even taken my first bite, I was inexplicably compelled to share – not the meal itself – but the story of the brief existence of this meal with all of you. It took every ounce of my being to resist the urge to go immediately to Facebook with this one. I wanted the whole world to know what I was happily stuffing inside of my face, but they would have to wait until this morning. Besides, a consolidated ‘fb’ version of this wouldn’t do the meal justice. It’s entirely possible that you’re about to read 1500 words about a sandwich – but stick with me, it’ll be worth it! My fingertips are still grease-soaked, and now transferring onto the keyboard, but I had to write this while it was still fresh in my mind. It was an unbelievably good lunch!

Picture this scene… It’s about noon on a Wednesday. My wife and oldest daughter are both at school, and somehow I have miraculously pulled off the seldom successful coup of getting both babies down for a nap at the same time. I’ve already run all of my errands for the day, I don’t have to leave for work for almost four more hours, and I just rotated in my third load of laundry for the day. Every bit of me wants to lie down on the couch, put on a movie that’s not rated G for a change and take a nap, but then I’d be failing as Mr. Mom. My wife would not be upset, nor would anyone else in my house. But I would know, and it would plague me for the rest of the day, so I had to keep being productive. A second pot of coffee always helps so I brewed one.

While standing at my kitchen counter, making this pot of coffee, I heard a faint, distant, muffled, sort of groaning sound. It was kind of the sound I imagined you would hear from a grizzly bear as he yawned and stretched for the first time in the spring after a long hibernation. It took me a few moments to realize that the sound was emanating from my own gut reminding me that it was about time for a meal. I wasn’t craving anything in particular, but I was very hungry. I just needed something to inspire me.

Just then, I glanced to my left and realized that the leftover bacon grease from breakfast was still sitting in a cup on the counter waiting for proper disposal. Behold inspiration! I did not yet know what I was going to make, but I knew for darn sure what it was going to be cooked in. Go ahead, start judging me.

I reached to the top of my cabinets to retrieve my large electric countertop griddle. I still had no idea what I was going to make, but I was reasonably certain that it wouldn’t fit in a single sauté pan. No way; I needed to convert approximately five cubic feet of counter space into a flat top, which of course, I did.

I’d like to give you a brief background on this apparatus. In the days leading up to our nuptials, my wife insisted that this electric flat top griddle go on our bridal registry. I griped incessantly about it, saying how stupid it was, and that it was a waste. I was sure it would never get used, and would just take up valuable space. Well, with the possible singular exception of our bed sheets, this thing has been used more than any other wedding gift we received. I can’t even say that it’s my wife using it just to be spiteful, it’s totally me.

I do the majority of the cooking, and I use the heck out of this thing. At the very least, it’s pulled down every Saturday morning for Pancake Day and usually once or twice during the week. I have freely and openly, on multiple occasions, apologized to my beautiful bride regarding this subject. I can no longer count how many times I’ve explained that she was right and I was wrong about the griddle. For some reason, she never seems to tire of hearing this and always reacts as if I’m saying it for the first time. Apparently, I must also inadvertently whisper when I say this because she always requires that it be said at least twice, and much louder the second time. Perhaps her hearing is starting to slip, I’m not sure.

I’d like to point out that when I said I do a majority of the cooking in my house that it is completely my choice. It’s certainly not because my wife is incapable of it. Cooking is probably on my top five list of favorite things to do. Number one is play with my kids, and the other three may or may not be suitable for this column, so we’ll just leave them a mystery. My wife is actually a great cook, but I tend to get a bit stubborn and territorial at meal preparation time. I’ll throw elbows and hip checks to box her and others out of the kitchen so I can weave my culinary wizardry, which, incidentally now brings us back full circle to the point of the story.

I believe we were discussing my wicked awesome, super-duper, fantastic lunch. Sorry I got derailed a bit back there. Sometimes I get distracted and go off on these little tangents. Fortunately, most of you are fully aware of the fact that attention span is not my strong suit. I’m like a dog at a squirrel sanctuary. To put it in perspective, I started watching Dances With Wolves back in 1992, and I’m only about halfway through it. I know, it’s difficult to comprehend that such an emotional, talented, stimulating, and captivating thespian such as Costner couldn’t garner my full attention, but it’s true. On a side note, I’d like to point out that I still think he did his best work in The Big Chill. (For those of you who don’t recall, he was the dead guy in the opening scene.)

Okay, so I have my cooking surface, and my fat product to keep my meal from sticking to it. Now I have to decide what to eat. Truth be told, my flat top has the most amazing, non stick surface I’ve ever had the pleasure of cooking on. No spray, butter, oil, or any other non stick agent is necessary at all. I just really wanted to eat something, ANYTHING, cooked in bacon grease. Yeah, it’s like that.

I started foraging in my refrigerator seeking further inspiration beyond the fact that I was cooking something in bacon fat. It didn’t take long at all. First, I saw the pack of hot dogs. Not just any dogs, they were Nathan’s. Big plump angry tubes of face fattening Americana. I would need at least two of them. Then I remembered that I was out of hot dog rolls, so I would have to improvise. I was already too enthused about the concept of the dogs. I went to the bread box and found a loaf of potato bread. This would be a fine substitute. Normal white bread just doesn’t have quite enough carbs to satisfy my gluttony; I needed to add potato starch to it. This sandwich is going to make Dr. Adkins spin in his grave. Apparently carb intake becomes irrelevant when you fall and bang your head. What… too soon? Incidentally, he died about 30 pounds overweight from what I hear, so by all means, continue to hand off your chips and fries to people like me. Thank you in advance.

Well now that I’m using bread, and not a roll, the whole physics and topography of my sandwich has changed. It’s going to require more than just hot dogs to accommodate that much bread. Enter the bologna factor. I spell it that way on purpose, because this was the real deal, and I wouldn’t insult it by Americanizing it into “baloney”. My bologna DOES NOT have a first name. It has a last name though, which is long, and very German and almost impossible to pronounce so I won’t even try.

Each slice is so thick that when I removed the individual bands of sausage casing, I could have saved them and used them for replacement vacuum belts. I will require two of these slices to secure the dogs once this all comes together. But they would make an even more suitable adhesive, if they were smothered in melted cheese. Oh yeah, this one is starting to come together. Now what else can go on this soon-to-be legendary sandwich? I’m certainly not going to accompany this beast with a salad, so I’ll need some sort of produce to balance out my intake. I try to consume at least three of the food groups a day, and it was far too early for vodka. What? Thanks for playing along.

Until we conclude the epic sandwich next week,

Syd Nichols