In my youth I traveled to an exotic land nestled high among the peaks of snow covered mountains. A land of chalets, and alpine construction of epic scale, where bears roamed the streets and cyclists rode down mountain trails that would worry a bighorn sheep.
In this magical land of tourists, restaurants and trendy bars, weekend Snowboarders, and holiday skiers, we the invisible worked. Whistler BC held our secret places where tourists never ventured. The nude beach on Lost Lake and the underground pizza shop, but dearest to my heart was the tiny little food place locals called the Third World Deli.
Nestled behind a hedge of evergreens across from the husky gas station was a yellowing sunburn peal paint entrance to a temple of early morning laborers. At 6am you could make your way in, past the black and white and faded Polaroids of naked pioneers to the food transfer. Grab a scrap of paper from the pile of snippets that sat on the edge of the counter. Scribble your order from the chalk board menu and pass it to the busy cook. Find your seat and be served the coffee or beverage of your choice by another member of this secret culinary clergy as you heard the orders chanted out.
“Pigs in a blanket sunny side up burned side down”
“Who’s on a diet and ordered half an egg”
As your insult rolled off the cook’s tongue like a fiery sermon, your meal appeared on the counter and you went down the single row of tables to pick it up like being called to communion.
“Holy fuck! Who’s the piggy that orders French toast and a Beltch?”
My breakfast was up. And as a growing boy fast approaching 200 lbs of muscle I would get a quizzical glance from the sarcastic cook, who would look at the overloaded plates then at my 28inch waist and say ” what are you doing with my food?” After the 4th or 5th time the joke was getting stale, and being a conscientious cook, he threw it out.
The French toast was sweet. 2 slices of batter soaked bread, with syrup and powdered sugar was the perfect desert to the meal I really came for.
The Beltch. A monstrosity of sandwich indecision. Ever been unsure of what you want to eat? A fried egg sandwich? A BLT? A grilled cheese? A ham and cheese? This took care of that decision by placing them all together on a single plate between two slices of fresh bread.
BELTCH Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato Cheese Ham sandwich. A recipe I stole from the master monks of this culinary abbey of local cuisine and made it my own. Not satisfied with the heart wrenching mix of saturated fats, I have expanded on the method to create a truly dangerous meal.
First the bacon, fried up in a pan to golden edged perfection, then the bread is dropped into the still hot pan to suck up the grease and crisp. A baptism of glorious flavour rather then the purgatory of a toaster’s red burning coils. Once done, the pan is now ready for the eggs, fried hard in the remaining bacon fat left behind by the seared bread. A few leaves of lettuce, (which I currently lack) like angelic wings enfolding the slices of tomato in its embrace. A layer of cheese, cheddar being preferred, as a bright halo over this divinity, that is finally covered in a shroud of thinly sliced ham as translucent as stained glass, before putting the second piece of pan fried bread as capstone, on this near holy relic.
As you bite into this mass of goodness, time slows and each flavour roles across your taste buds in a parade of taste. One after another like waves against the beach, each zest, gusto and seasoning announces itself with a roar and then, hissing, fades back into the mix as you chew each bite. Your arteries rebel, your heart constricts, your kidneys shiver and your stomach boils, but it’s worth it. If you can survive this banquet of singular gluttony, you will have approached the pearly gates of heaven, close enough to taste rapture but able to turn back to mundanities until you are ready to gather the ingredients of this text again and bind them together into this holy consumable book of utopian enchantment, the BELTCH.