In my novel What’s Left, the family’s signature dish is a sandwich sliced down the top, rather than along the side. Maybe with two slices, rather than one.
It started out as a Cubano but took off on its own. As I recalled, the name was suggested in jest by a comment on the Red Barn way back when, but I’m unable to trace it now. Let me say, if I’m overlooking an inspiration, I’ll be happy to give credit where it’s due.
In the novel at least, it’s a collaborative effort.
Cassia’s uncle Dimitri, with his MBA, is big on marketing and creating a niche appeal. So that’s where we start.
Add his grandmother Maria, from Cuba. Along with his brother, Barney, the master chef. And everyone else in the family, plus a few others.
Can this actually work? How would I know? Maybe if Harry Potter waved a magic wand and uttered some incomprehensible syllables?
But whatever they create sounds heavenly. Wouldn’t you agree?
The flavor was off in this round:
Few customers would realize we really offer five or six different Streetcars, depending on the season or our supplies. They’re all scrumptious, so nobody as far as I know complains.
That possibility, by the way, stems from an interview I once read for the chief taster for Chock Full o’Nuts coffee, who had to keep blending whatever beans were available into a consistent taste of java. Why not extend it into a sandwich?
Still, I love the image of creating something distinctive for a rural college town.
Look closely and you’ll see different parts of the country do have unique dishes. It’s not just baked beans in Boston, either. (Anyone else enjoy Indian pudding?) Or special spices, like Old Bay in Baltimore.
Think of seafood, if you live near a coast. Or wild game, if you can. Or even variations on pizza.
What’s a distinctive food where you live?