Ordered by: David Martin Long
Jesus, why didn’t I use an alias for this blog? I know he’s dead and I’m still scared.
Date of Meal: 12/08/1999
Meal: 4 bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, iced tea, and potato chips
Clockwise from left: Bacon (1 package), Hellmann’s Mayonnaise (jar), Lay’s potato chips (1 giant bag), Pepperidge Farm White “Sandwich” Bread (1 loaf), “sandwich” lettuce, tomatoes (3) (not pictured: iced tea mix)
Kat’s still been busy with work, so Ashish and Bhavi, my honorary “Joan Rivers” guest hosts, volunteered for another meal. When I came by their place, our friend Mark was there, too, so our little club has grown by leaps and bounds. To get an idea for what Mark brings to the LSC, his nickname among us at mealtime is “The Octopus”. This is because he takes a defensive stance over his plate and begins to shovel, but as soon as he sees you are done with your food, his tentacles reach out—his face has not moved from the plate, mind you—and he pulls more victims into his maw. I’ve seen him eat garnish…like almost every time. And his jaw clicks, so if you’re close, and you close your eyes, you get the sense that they’ve sat a German Shepherd at the table with you. Mark certainly enjoys food, but I’m not exactly sure if he thinks in terms of “last meal”. He might think you’re asking from a chronological perspective, like what his last kill was.
A quick explanation about some of the choices here: we’ve been trying to stick to our “prison brand” coda, but sometimes it seems a little Dickensian. For bacon, we got the Key Food brand, which seemed cheap enough. For potato chips, and not to knock Lays—they make a fine potato chip—but growing up Lays and Wise have always seemed like the institutional brand of choice. Not, for example, kettle chips or anything with a brown bag that looks like it was made on a commune in upstate New York. Pepperidge Farm might be a bit of a splurge, but it’s white, it said sandwich bread, and give us a break…I don’t think I could handle a loaf of Wonder Bread. As for the lettuce, we originally were going for the iceberg, but what were we going to do with a head of lettuce? And it’s not like we bought gold leaves. Everything came in well under the $40 allotment that Florida has.
Mark happens to be a bit of a shutterbug, so he helmed the camera most of the prep time, and oh my God did he take a lot of shots. I’ve edited them down a bit, but there’s still enough that you could probably make a flip book and see the animated experience.
As per usual, I was on meatail, which was probably as easy as it gets.
Cooking tip of the week: You don’t need to coat the pan with anything when you’re cooking bacon. That stuff shows up like Mr. Wolf, ready to go and take care of everything.
Somewhere on Long Island, my mom is sobbing, and she doesn’t know why.
Once it started cooking down, I threw them all in a dog pile and let the sizzling begin.
Bhavi says, “Hey do you want to use my apron?” I took one look and said, “Absolutely I want to use your apron.”
Two batches of bacon, just like dear old mom used to make. I’m both titillated and disgusted by the amount of bacon in this picture.
"Why am I always on tomatoes?" When you can answer that, you’ll no longer be on tomatoes.
Meet our toaster, HAL. “You’re hurting me, Dave.”
As if the bacon wasn’t enough, BUTTER. I don’t even know if that’s how you make a BLT!
See, I do like Lays! I was also starving.
So by this point I’ve cooked up an entire package of bacon (gross), and the kitchen starts getting smoky and smelling like a pig trapped in a sauna. We tried to open up the backdoor to get some air.
Yup, not happening. Stupid blizzard. It’s alright…we just got a little more cured, is all.
Begin assembly of BLTs (x4)
First, try to open the mayo.
Next, actually open the mayo. Try not to look as strained as I do.
Then, the mayo. If you look at my face here, you might be able to register my disgust. I hate mayo. If it’s on something, I’ll eat it, but I’ll never put it on myself. Back in college, I used to work at the dining hall, and sometimes my job required me to open up a giant vat of mayo that had separated into egg whites and oil. It was one of the grossest experiences, and I had to reach my arm in and stir it up. When I pulled my arm out, it looked like I had lubed it up. Ok, I’m going to go vomit for a minute.
We decided to go lettuce first. I don’t have a reasoning for this.
Bacon!! 2 strips, folded over to maximize meatiness.
Two tomatoes. This felt like the kind of activity they do at rehab. Sufficiently mindless, but requiring LOTS of concentration.
The BLT Tower. Looking back on it, we should have bought a few toothpicks, right? They must have toothpicks in prison…oh, wait…
Requisite artistic photo of iced tea crystals seeping into pitcher of water? Check. Also, we have a pitcher! Finally!
Your meal is served. Looks kind of awesome, huh?
Once again, no TV was playing, but we did have music. Mark had his iPod on, but for the most part all I could hear was the gnashing of teeth. This is the problem with making a bunch of sandwiches. Once they’re made, you want to eat them. You don’t want to start making more sandwiches. How do moms do it for their kids during school? Screw that: I’m giving my kids lunch money when they need to eat. I’m not going to stand around making a bunch of sandwiches I’m not even going to touch!
1. What do you think he did?
Mark: (between bites) Found his wife in bed with another lover.
Ashish: I think he killed little kids.
Bhavi: From the meal, it feels like he ordered his everyday lunch. He was a good man who did something stupid. Maybe a crime of passion. But he loved his wife otherwise. That’s why he ordered something from his everyday life. (by the way, if you couldn’t tell, Bhavi is really good at immediately concocting strong convictions on the spot when asked. She’d probably have a lot of fun with Paul Simon if they rode on a bus together)
Eric: Something about this meal says white trash to me. I think it was a hate crime.
Now here’s what he really did, and I’m going to quote directly, because when I read it just now, I couldn’t believe how close Bhavi and Mark were, and yet how far off:
"Convicted in the hatchet slaying of three women in Lancaster, a Dallas suburb. Killed were Donna Sue Jester, 38; her blind[!] cousin Dalpha Lorene Jester, 64; and Laura Lee Owens, a 20-year-old drifter from Florida who lived with the Jesters and Long in a house…All were hacked to death with a hatchet by Long after he grew tired of hearing them argue…During his trial, Long, who called the triple homicide “a satanic” experience, said he would kill again if not given the death penalty.”
Is that not the scariest thing you’ve heard in a while? Who assures the judge that only the maximum penalty will prevent him from taking a hatchet to anyone else? And a hatchet? I’m assuming he left the blind cousin for last, since there’d probably be a lot of confusion with the screaming for her to realize she should run. I mean, not to be morbid. I’m just thinking practically here. Anyway, this guy is the current title holder of “Guy who I really hope isn’t offended by our discussing him and doesn’t come back from the dead to get me.” It’s a long list, though, so I’m willing to take all wagers. Satanic experience…yeesh. Doesn’t it sound like he meant that in a good way, too?
Anyway, I feel like I get some credit for the white trash part, even though it is Texas Death Row. They were probably arguing about what daytime television to watch.
2. What are your first impressions?
Ashish: I like it. It’s simple. BLTs are kind of refreshing.
Mark: I’m done with it. This meal doesn’t represent all life has to offer.
Eric: It’s everyday, but not my everyday. I never eat BLTs, so this is kind of a treat for me. But I think it’s missing last meal-ness. Who sits around eating 4 sandwiches? It feels like we’re having a picnic, or getting ready for some outdoorsy activity.
Bhavi: Does this make him a simple man?
Ashish: I prefer everyday food.
Bhavi: I think his favorite season was summer. I associate this with summer. (I don’t know how we corroborate this. What’s prime hatchet season?)
3. How close is this to what you would have picked for your own last meal?
Mark: Not at all.
Ashish: I could go for this, but with more stuff.
Bhavi: I’d get last week’s nachos with this.
Eric: I like the bacon element, and even the BLT element, but this feels like intramural day at camp.
4. What are the strong elements? What are the weak elements?
We all agreed the bacon and toast were strong elements. They both excel at taste, smell, and texture. You can’t go wrong when they’re there. Also, there aren’t that many elements, so it’s kind of easy to be a standout.
Mark and I thought the weak element was mayo. Bhavi and I hated the iced tea. It’s such gross iced tea. Even with sugar, it has that myeh aftertaste. You know.
Ashish: I like every piece of this puzzle.
Mark: The weak element is a lack of more bacon.
5. How does the meal work as a whole? Were there any unexpected surprises in the pairings?
Ashish: It lacks as a whole. It needs dessert.
Bhavi: As a whole it works.
Eric: There are no unexpected pairings. There are three things here, and they’re all expected.
Bhavi: Is this something a pothead would eat?
Ashish: No. Too much work.
(Note: Mark had by this time finished his plate and was trying to scavenge for other food, so “No comment”)
6. How satisfied are you after the meal?
Bhavi: I think I’m enjoying this because I haven’t had a BLT in a while.
Ashish: I’m fine with this meal. I haven’t overeaten like last week. But I’m craving something sweet.
Mark: I wish I had eaten this slower. My stomach hurts. (this is why you never leave a full bowl of food out for your dog when you go on vacation, fyi)
Eric: I could have used a third sandwich.
At this point, I should explain that we debated two packages of bacon, but that seemed ridiculous. Also, at the outset, when Bhavi picked the meal, Ashish told me, “There’s no way I’m eating 4 BLTs.” This sparked a bit of debate, since we weren’t sure if we should really be making 16 BLTs or just making enough for us to eat. And then this exchange:
Eric: Well, they probably don’t eat everything they ordered.
Ashish: They probably ordered enough so they don’t have to worry about still being hungry.
Mark: Yeah, that’s the worst feeling.
Eric: Right. So is dying.
7. Is there anything you’re craving after this?
Ashish: I need the sweet.
Bhavi: A brownie.
Ashish: I’m going to have some ice cream after this. Anyone else want?
Eric: More bacon.
8. Was there anything missing that you would have liked?
Aside from the resounding call for dessert, a huge gap was the lack of a pickle! In fact, Ashish and Bhavi brought out pickles that we ate after the sandwiches, and you know what? They were fantastic. Why wouldn’t someone order a pickle? I’m telling you, this is the kind of meal you make and pack into your backpack before you jump on your mountain bike and get stuck in a crag for 5 days.
9. What does this do for your state of mind? Do you feel more at peace?
Bhavi: This does nothing for me. I feel like I’m on my lunch break.
Ashish: I feel good. I’m not stuffed.
Eric: This kind of picked me up a bit. I like this meal. I feel like I treated myself.
10. Ready to die??
Ashish: Ready to die. Actually, after I eat this ice cream I’ll be ready.
Mark: I’m ready to die. Done.
Bhavi: I’m telling you, I’m ready to go back to work.
Eric: I’m ready to go hike a mountain.
Bhavi: You know what I feel like doing? Going back to my job repairing cars.
Ashish: Professionals kill people, too. I think he was a lawyer. (Note: Ashish is a lawyer)
I don’t know where to start. First, if you’re prone to violent rages, best not to live with three women, dude. Or maybe give the hatchet to a friend for safekeeping. Also, BLTs are great, and really refreshing. I didn’t even mind the mayo or the butter. But I think what we’re starting to get overall is the emerging theme that there are some really great simple pleasures out there. Take grilled cheese and tomato soup, for example. Excellent stuff. Or hot chocolate with whipped cream? I think BLTs are right up there. Four is probably overkill (so is hacking three women to bits), but I can understand that if your focus is a satisfying BLT, you have to quadruple down. This is why I never order BLTs, especially at a diner. You always wind up tasting wet lettuce and sometimes getting that great bacon crunch, but mostly it’s soggy toast and lettuce. I think the potato chips and iced tea were tantamount to a garnish here, and the BLT was the true star. So you made a great choice, Mr. Long. Please don’t kill me in some crazy Wes Craven movie way.