One of the ways I entertain myself when I stand in line at the local sandwich shop chain is by watching the cold cut artists behind the counter as they prepare my meal. They arrange the order line so you can customize your sandwich as they create it, dictating what toppings and sauces you’d like to include in your meal. It makes you feel special.
But me? I’m fascinated by the open display of butchery and cold meat.
Standing behind the sneeze guard glass makes me feel like I’m in a surgical theater, watching doctors operate as they slice bread with their long knives and handle meaty tissue in their latex-covered hands. They spritz and drizzle dressing along the cut like they’re cleansing an open, foot-long wound. Sometimes it’s a messy affair, when the sandwich spills its contents across the counter like the mess you’d see on a coroner’s table during a lunch break. But I forget all that as they wrap up the meal in paper, twisting it up tourniquet-tight, like they were saving a bleeding leg.
Those creepy latex gloves they wear. That’s what sends me into this fantasy.
And they don’t change them often. They don’t scrub in. They don’t sterilize their instruments. They might put on fresh gloves when you place your order, but they rarely change them when they pick up a dirty butcher’s knife handle or press a button on a crisping oven or a microphone transmitter to the drive-thru window, or — worst of all — handling the cash register or all your filthy lucre before they are finished making your meal.
It’s like they think the gloves are there to protect their hands, rather than the sanitation of your sandwich.
And eating all that contact residue is like — I dunno — like you’re on the subway, licking the seats or something.
I fear raw meat and cold cuts. For more of my opinions on such culinary delights, here’s an oldie from The Goreletter