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Mountain Cuisine

The Pocket Sandwich Has Evolved

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How often do babies eat? Every 2-3 hours at first, then maybe every 3-4 hours. Well, I’m not sure I ever got out of that eating pattern…

It’s funny how my relationship to eating has evolved over the years. I remember looking at vacation brochures when I was little and saw lots of advertisements for fancy foods and restaurants. I asked, “Why do they show so many pictures of food? Who cares about food that much?” I wanted to see pictures of the pool, mini golf, the arcade: you know, things that kids care about. Well, fast forward a decade or 2 and now I totally get it.
food platter
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Meals have been major events for 1,000’s of years: weddings, baptisms, deaths, The Last Supper, the list goes on… What is it about food that sets such an enticing stage? Is it something about taking the time to settle yourself?  Is it about sharing time and a meal with others (the root of the word companion comes from Latin: con panis, literally with bread)? Or is it just about quenching one of the basic physiological needs?

And what about having the right amount of food? If you don’t have enough, you get cranky.  If you have too much, you’re uncomfortable.  If you eat the wrong kind, hello Pepto! My first year skiing, I wanted to avoid the “not having enough” category, so I would maximize my time and performance on the mountain. Without enough food fuel to tackle the mountain, performance goes down. If performance goes down, you make more errors.  And that can lead to a less enjoyable day, not to mention a higher chance of injury.

“Without enough food fuel to tackle the mountain, performance goes down.”

In there beginning I started out with the basics. That meant granola bars stuffed in my pants (all those pockets in your ski pants? Snacks holders, right?).  Then I upgraded a bit to some fancy fruit energy bars (oh yeah, now we’re talking!).  But soon you start to see everyone in the ski lodge eating those delicious looking cheese fries, burgers, and all that other overpriced junk.  It was time for another upgrade.  Call it blue square snackage.

Oh yes, that meant the PB&J pocket sandwich. We’ve all been there (on the mountain or in kindergarten).  In the morning before the early runs I would smear basic jelly and a “choosy Moms” style spread on white bread, flatten out the sandwich, shove it in a plastic bag, and stuff it in my pants (which fit very nicely — good job ski pants pocket designers).  Ha! Now, when I was in the lodge next to all the fry and burger people, I was able to hold my head a little higher as I pull out my flattened PB&J from my ski pants.

peanut butter and jelly sandwich
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Don’t underestimate the power of the PB&J.

“I think I was the only one skiing around with a sandwich in my pants that year, but whatever, I was cool with it.”

I took my pocket sandwich concept to the SNOWCHASERS on our first trip. We had all the materials in the kitchen, but it didn’t really take off too well. I think I was the only one skiing around with a sandwich in my pants that year, but whatever, I was cool with it.  It was during our next trip to Park City that the pocket sandwich really got the respect it deserves!

Oh, we’re talking full on black diamond sandwiches.  We used fresh pumpernickel bread (the best bread ever!) from the local grocery store bakery. Pockets picked up some Boar’s Head Soppressatta, which he thought would make a nice addition to the sandwich, and it sure did! We also picked up ham, munster and swiss cheeses, and turkey. While making the sandwiches one morning, MONOCLE brings up the idea of making it a triple decker. That is, three pieces of bread folks. Revolutionary.  We had some vegetables from the salads, like peppery arugula, which added a nice garnish. For the vegans (and non-vegany lovers of veggies), we had all sorts of vegetables, hummus, sprouts…

The point is, the options became endless and we had tons of fun in the mornings acting like mad chefs whipping up cool creations. We all had a slightly different twist to our triple deckers, but when we met up for lunch on the mountain, it was such a treat to chow down with our designer sandwiches (and an underlying message here is the cost savings from not having to eat at the resorts’ expensive restaurants on the mountain every day).

Whether I eat my pocket sandwich on the ski lift while taking in the beautiful vistas, or meeting up with my crew at a mountain lodge, I’m enjoying something that I had a hand in making, and that is satisfying (even when it is just a humble PB&J).

I wonder if we’re the only passionate pocket sandwich crew out there? What are your mountain snack stories? And in the meantime, here’s to many more pocket sandwiches and such before our last supper…

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