015 - The Death Of The Cheese & Onion Sandwich

An Irish staple food, but they don’t make’em like they use to.

Courtesy of my kitchen

An Irish staple food, but they don’t make’em like they use to.

Welcome to the Editor’s Journal; A daily thought on writing, the creative process, art, work, the world and how it all goes together. Every morning I rise between 5 and 6 am, I sit here in the quiet of my kitchen and I write whatever’s prominent. I have a bunch of article ideas saved, so I’ll either pull from them or write something new. I also write at larrygmaguire.com. I hope you enjoy the read.

I was feeling a bit peckish last night and so I made myself a cheese and onion sandwich. I immediately thought of my Dad because that’s where I saw it made first.

The contents of the sambo vary depending on who you talk to. Some add tomato, ham, even lettuce but the core elements remain constant.

  • Bread (white or brown)

  • Butter (real butter, not your spreadable fake shite)

  • Cheddar Cheese (mature)

  • Onion (red or white)

Condiments usually include one or both of the following;

  • English mustard

  • Brown sauce (YR is good)

We’ve been eating cheese and onion sambos or some variation of it for donkey’s years here in the Emerald Isle. Mature cheddar cheese being a vital core component.

But something has changed in recent times with our trusty cheese sambo. It appears that imposters have entered our cupboards and fridges and it represents a deeper problem.

My Cheese Sambo Has Changed

The mass commoditisation of food for the purpose of driving profit has taken over and destroyed my cheese sandwich.

Cheese is not cheese any more.

Cheese, milk, yoghurt, all dairy products are so heavily processed not that any good qualities they might have had are gone by the time we get them.

Cheeses are made by big dairy corporations where focus is on large quantities and large profits. They don’t care for your health and wellbeing. They care about their shareholders.

The only way to go is to choose small and local. Having the opportunity to speak to the people who actually made the cheese is the only way you can be confident that it’s the real McCoy.

Bread is not bread any more.

Don’t get me started on bread. The only way to get decent, natural, unpolluted bread is to make it yourself or buy it from a reputable small local baker.

Regular sliced pan bread lasts for days, even weeks before mold will begin to form. And even then it stays soft as the day you bought it.

There’s something seriously wrong with that.

Onions are not onions any more.

Remember when onions made your eyes water?

Not so any more. You need to buy “organic” onions for that. Back when I was a kid my Mam used to warn me to be quick when I cut them to avoid it. All onions made your eyes water.

Regular onions we buy in the supermarket seem to be sterile or something. Not to mention quick to spoil.

Butter is not butter any more.

Fake spreads fill the supermarket refrigerators, and they do so because we are incapable of spreading real butter on our bread.

It’s too much hassle.

Manufacturers take cheap oil based components and fuck with then to the end degree until they make them solid enough to call them butter.

Then they use reverse psychology on the stupid public to convince them it’s good. They call it;

“I can’t believe it’s not butter”

Then people buy it. And consume it.

[Shakes head in disbelief]

We eat foods like this then wonder why the hospitals are full with sick people.

We don’t have time to eat proper food. It’s inconvenient to have to make our own bread, or cook our own meals.

We don’t have enough time or money to find quality local providers.

The Endless Pursuit Of Convenience

Convenience, or rather the endless search for convenience is a very detrimental thing.

As this society we live in developed from hunter gatherer to farming to the industrial revolution, more efficient ways of getting things done were discovered.

All good there. I’m all for efficiency.

Advances in technology made the world smaller and improved the standard of living for most people. Some did suffer at the expense of those who prospered and still do, but by and large the world seems like a better place for it all.

But there comes a point at which that which creates also destroys. It’s a tipping point although to call it a point is not accurate.

It more of a fuzzy gray area that only becomes apparent in retrospect. That’s why hindsight has 20/20 vision.

Convenience says;

I can’t be bothered to get with this thing I need to do. I haven’t got the time, there’s too much hassle in this for me so I need an easier, quicker way. Just gimme an easy life.

But it never comes. It’s perpetual you see, this need for convenience.

And all the while my cheese sambo suffers.

What’s The Future For My Cheese Sambo?

My country is small and it might be fair to say that big food corporations have not yet managed to take over food here completely yet, but they are trying hard.

Food lobbyists convince policymakers that preservatives and additives are good for business, jobs and the economy.

Stupid narrow sighted politicians are easily fooled. Food industry people worm their way into the system and take over decision making in favour of the industry.

So we are continually bombarded with lies dressed up as truth in the form of clever marketing.

The shelves of supermarkets remain filled with food that lasts months under fluorescent light and has little or no nutritional value.

So there’s only one thing for it…

We must recognise that small cottage type industries where makers of food actually give a fuck about what they make, are where it’s really at. And we must ensure they are encouraged and supported.

In striving for an easier life, for more convenience, we deny ourselves the value in the process.

Washing dishes, hanging out clothes, buying bread that stays fresh for one day, spreading real butter on our bread, all these things are simple yet we make them a problem.

We’ve got to get back to basics and relearn to do the simple things purely for the sake of it.

Otherwise we’re just killing ourselves off.

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Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.