Those lucky enough to have grown up with their father must remember Daddy Sandwiches. Dad’s have a special way of making sandwiches. Daddy Sandwiches are rarely meals, they are snacks, gifts, late night raids, shared secrets. They have weird combinations, private meanings. My daddy made fabulous sandwiches.
When I was a teenager I lived with my Dad. I was the only one I knew who did, in fact many of my friends rarely saw their fathers. Their fathers were people who lived on the east side if they lived on the west, on the west if they lived on the east. Their fathers had new wives, new children, they saw them occasionally, rarely, they were not their primary parent.
I was envious of them, living with a mother, a person who understood things like tampons and concealer and how it felt when a boy didn’t like them back. To my handsome charming father I was a complete unknown, terrifying bundle of baby fat and hormones. The women is his life were already grown, they didn’t involve him in things like hair removal, and for the most part the were thin and beautiful. I was not thin, I am not thin, I may never be thin, but I do have a certain beauty and for that I am thankful.
I was my father’s compatriot in midnight snacks, sesame bagels slathered in Dijon mustard and butter, toasted with Jarlsberg cheese and Hebrew National salami, he would wake me up in the middle of the night and ask me if I wanted a sandwich.
On Sunday mornings, as soon as we were able to cross the street by ourselves he would send us to Zookie’s Deli, with a list, a dozen assorted bagels and bialys (no salt no egg), a pound of nova ( make sure you watch them slice it, they need to be thin so you can see through them), a quarter pound herring in cream sauce, a half pound regular cream cheese, a half pound scallion, a quarter pound whitefish salad, three black and white cookies. They made the bagels right there in front of the store. A guy who looked just like Boner from sha na na would stir a massive boiling pot of water then scoop up thewet shiny bagels and lay them on long slats covered in canvas and topping and slide them in the enormous oven. We would always get a aluminum tin packet of dutch butter cookies to eat while we waited, I can still hear the pop/whoosh the top made when you peeled it off.
When we were young he would make us bagels and lox, butter on one side, scallion cream cheese on the other, thin slices of nova, thick slices of jarlsberg cheese, few lettuce leaves, raw onion for him, but never for us., that was first breakfast, after that we would graze for hours while he read the New York Times. and then watched football. Sometimes we would go to our grandparent’s house laden with the bounty of smoked fish, sometimes they would come to us but always there was the New York Times.
To be continued…..