Love Affair with Food

“The classic Monte Cristo sandwich is a three-layered affair with ham, turkey, and cheese that when classically prepared is dipped into batter, then deep-fried.”

Would the real Monte Cristo please stand up?

Ahhhh, Monte Cristo. I have many a nostalgic feeling about these sandwiches even though I have had maybe 4 total in my life. I think some things just do that; for whatever reason there will be some time and some place where all the karmic cosmos line up and a permanent impression will be made. Such it is with me and Monte Cristo sandwiches.

I couldn’t tell you how old I was when I met my first Monte Cristo but I can probably guess between 8 and 10ish. Maybe slightly older. I do remember that I had just read The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) and loved it. I was all about the Count, he was the coolest bas ass literary figure I had ever run into. The book is basically about revenge; Count gets screwed over by buds, Count gets mad, Count starts taking names, buds are in so much trouble. Yeah, it’s a good revenge story.

Then we were at some restaurant and they had a Monte Cristo (which I misread as Monte Crisco…sort of fitting actually) sandwich on the menu. I was intrigued, what was the relationship? Named after the place? Named after the book? Was this a bad ass sandwich? I’d never seen a Monte Cristo anywhere before so I took a peek at the ingredients. Hmmm, ham good, turkey good, Swiss cheese good and all deep fried. Wait a minute, deep fried as in deep fried deep fried? Not lots of butter on a griddle fried – deep fried right? Like fish fry fish deep fried? A sandwich? You can do that? Bonus! So I ordered one. It came all hot and crispy with a dusting of powdered sugar on the outside and full of tasty ham and turkey with wonderfully melted Swiss cheese in the inside. It was delicious. Every time after when I found one on a menu, I ordered it.

The problem with Monte Cristos are that only one out of every 50 restaurants have them on the menu so my encounters with them were few and far between. Still, the first meeting was enough to instill a real like of the things so now when I happen across them I get that small satisfied smile of “Awwww yeah” going. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s deep fried. A battered sandwich, how cool is that? Maybe it’s because it like a French toast sandwich which is really sort of cheating; you are eating dessert and lunch at the same time. Sneaky sandwich! Maybe it’s because I like the melty cheese and ham and turkey thing going all encased in the batter. Dunno but I’m making me very hungry writing this. I think I just might pick some stuff up and do up some Montys this weekend.

And why all the fuss over the sandwich? This past weekend I met a faux Monte Cristo at the brew pub we were at and it just pissed me off. The offered a “Turkey Monte Cristo” which was a pan fried sandwich with turkey and slaw. That’s like offering a lettuce burger with lettuce and tomato (no buns). It’s not a burger anymore it’s a salad so don’t go calling it a burger and making me expect one thing and then hand me this salad and go Ta da. Pan fried turkey and slaw. Where is my deep fried breading? My ham? The Cheese? People, you cant just pick a name and go with it-there are food rules and standards to be followed! Sheesh, the only thing their Monte had in common with the real Monte was turkey and bread. I expected my Turkey Monte to have at least cheese (and what’s with the slaw? That’s more of a Reuben thing which isn’t really a Reuben anyway) and definitely some sort of batter action going but no. None such was to be had. So now I am all up in arms and ready to fire my wok up and make a Monte proper. No cheese, no batter, what WERE they thinking?

One Response to “Love Affair with Food”

  1. theMan Says:

    Maybe they were thinking “I’m having.. chest.. pains! Dear God, I’m gonna DIE! Can’t… feel… left… arm…. If only.. I hadn’t had… so many… battered,… deep fried… turkey ham and cheese sandwiches…”

    Then, after they recovered from the heart attack, they decided to get revenge by creating confusion about the sandwich that nearly killed them.

    I dunno. It just kinda fits the whole Monte Cristo = Revenge thing…