- the BLT hack, wherein I order the optional bacon (an extra .75) with all the veggies and some pesto mayo, which against all condiment-related odds, tastes fantastic. I fill out the order form, hand it to the sandwich guy, who computes all the little ingredients I have checked off, then says: "No meat? or cheese?" and I say (defying the obvious point that bacon *is* meat, because I know he means "no meat-for-the-regular, i.e. -included-price?"), "No," and then he's all, okay, I will erase the "bacon-for-an-extra-charge" mark you put on your order sheet, and I'm all, thanks dude, and the upshot is that there's a BLT, basically, with chips and a drink for less than $5, take that, Subway! Plus: pesto mayo, who'd a thought, because mayo, the most blighted of all condiments, is unexpectedly enhanced by "pesto," please don't tell me what's really in it.
- cheese pizza.
This pizza, which I eat on the average of two times a week, is Chef Tom's, and it's foldable, and it's kind of greasy, garlicky, and moreover, it never lets me down. I usually sprinkle it liberally with those red pepper flakes and wolf it down before it gets even lukewarm, because its true essence is only delivered for the two minutes, three minutes tops, that it's piping hot and thereby--and here's a conundrum for you if ever conundrum there was--risking roof-of-mouth burn.
Hot, melted cheese is one of the all-time indicators that human civilization is not just a giant and cynical joke. I refer also to the melted cheese open-faced sandwich, as well as the grilled cheese sandwich. These are no laughing matter, ladies and gentlemen. Rather, they illustrate that the application of heat to food is--and I'm just spit-balling here--as sublime as, say, great literature, maybe not Shakespeare, but Tennyson. Or symphonies. Or Rodin. Can Rodin warm you up on a cold winter's night? or after Writing Center hours, or Discussion Team, or strategic planning? I submit to you that Rodin cannot. But cheese pizza can.
I also submit to you perhaps the apotheosis of hot cheese dishes: Green Chile Quiche. This was a dish that rotated into the family recipe canon later--i.e., I did not grow up eating it, but my mother made it, and now the recipe has a place in my generation. The recipe involves cottage cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green chiles, eggs, and a little butter and flour to make it meltier and simultaneously bind it together a little bit more. This is a crustless quiche, and thus it can be made in a single bowl and then poured into a lightly greased casserole, baked at 425 for 10 minutes and then 375 for 40 minutes more, give or take.
This quiche, with a side of salad or broccoli or God forgive us corn, will warm your very soul. If you don't think there is such thing as a soul, this quiche, with said sides, will prove the soul's existence. And the people, when there are leftovers for breakfast? this quiche will prove to you that there is an organizing principle in the universe. That there is order, and goodness, nourishment, light, and truth. This, the people, is the power of hot cheese.