The Quest for a Same-Named Sandwich
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Immortality takes many forms: a literary work that stands the test of time; A scientific discovery named after you; a monument erected in your honor. Well, commentator Daniel Pinkwater hopes he's already had a taste of his own immortality.
DANIEL PINKWATER: In the coffee shop at St. Leon's College and at the couple of country-style saloons at the nearby crossroads, I heard students order a Blitzburger. This was the local name for the deluxe or California cheeseburger with bacon, lettuce and tomato - onions, optional. They were popular. Also, students favor something called a Hergisheimer(ph). The Hergisheimer was a cheeseburger on rye toast with grilled onions and ketchup. It wasn't hard to workout the blitz appellation. Obviously, a holdover from World War II jargon -the Blitzkrieg or Lighting War, and as applied to a sandwich, the ultimate manifestation or one with everything. Incidentally, that's what the Zen monks said to the hotdog vendor - make me one with everything.
But how did the Hergisheimer get its name? I was told that it was the favorite sandwich of a popular student from years ago. He had one every night and people took to calling it by his name, which was Hergisheimer. I developed a craving for that kind of enduring fame. Immortality. I thought there could be nothing finer than to have a sandwich named after me. Long after I had gone on to greater things or died even, students will be asking for a Pinkwater. So I decided to make it happen. All I had to do was invent a sandwich, make a point of consuming said sandwich regularly when there were people around and soon people would try my sandwich, like it, and that would be the beginning of another St. Leon's tradition.
So every night, when the coffee shop was crowded, I would stentoriously order my unique sandwich. I started out with a peanut butter and jelly on whole-wheat toast with pickle relish and a slice of raw Bermuda. I thought it had a chance because the PB and J was the cheapest item on the menu and no extra for the extras, a dismal failure that when I choked some down for a couple of months and not a soul was prompted to have one with me. I then came up with other sandwiches: sardines and Swiss on English muffin, American cheese and olives on a toasted cruller, other weirder combinations, all failures.
In later life, my friend Steve Kilnesen(ph) created a sandwich at his Hoboken restaurant. It was called The Daniel, a pita with too much chili. But no one ever ordered it, not even me. And it was dropped from the menu. I remained a non-entity, until now.
Now, you can order - and I can commend you to do so - at Angelina's Pizza and Pasta on Route 9G, a Mr. Pinkwater. It's a panini - contains mushroom, eggplant, roasted pepper, green pepper and Gorgonzola. Yum. I have never received a literary award. I am not listed among famous graduates on the St. Leon's Web site. I had to pay money for my ALL THINGS CONSIDERED coffee mug, but I do not care. I am somebody. I am a sandwich.
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BLOCK: Daniel Pinkwater lunches in New York's Hudson River Valley. And before we hear those howls of protests, we distinctly remember that we gave Daniel his trustee ALL THINGS CONSIDERED mug.
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