Cooking in a dorm room can be an adventure. Sometimes it’s an absolute disaster, like when two kids in my hall scorched toast, causing the evacuation of the entire lower quad. Sometimes it’s… better, like when I bought lettuce and tomato earlier this year and made, lo and behold, a salad! A couple of days ago, I figured it was time to get a bit more ambitious, so I went to Fro Gro and got creative.
My purchases? A cooked whole turkey breast, a loaf of crusty Italian bread, a vine-ripened tomato, and some herb-flavored goat cheese.
Clearly, a monumental sandwich was in order.
Hurrying back to my dorm room, and feeling like a real foodie for having the end of a baguette peeking out of my grocery bag, I got more and more excited about the coming masterpiece. I opened the turkey first and found a large, well-colored, and moist reminder of Thanksgiving. I dug in with a metal fork—this was way too important for the plastic utensils I usually use—and saw that the meat was swimming in juice, almost undercooked, in fact, which was the best possible situation.
I pulled some pieces of the succulent white meat off of the bone, the aromatic steam rising up to the ceiling of my small room. After tasting a bit of
the turkey, I grabbed a metal knife in one hand and the crusty bread—imported from faraway, majestic New Jersey—in the other. Over a plate to catch the countless crumbs, I plunged the knife in, quickly overcoming the hard exterior and entering the loaf’s doughy innards. Unlike the turkey, this bread could have used a little less time in the oven, but it was tasty nonetheless. I ate the loaf’s crispy end piece, then cut a chunk a few inches long and split it on one side. My sandwich was ready to be stuffed.
I sliced the tomato into and layered the pieces over the bottom half of the bread.
After a little struggle to open the package, I spooned out some chunks of goat cheese and placed it on top of each tomato slice. Finally, it was time for the star of the show. I took the pieces of turkey meat I had pulled one at a time and gingerly arranged them individually on the top of my sandwich. In hindsight, it might have been more effective to have grabbed all of the turkey at once and piled it on, but being meticulous here gave me pleasure: this sandwich was a big
The moment of truth had arrived. I did the unnecessary but obligatory push-down-on-the-top-of-the-sandwich move with my left hand, hearing the bread’s crust crumble, seeing the turkey’s juice run into the dough, and smelling the goat cheese as the white meat warmed and melted it on the tomatoes. I picked it up—both hands were necessary, mind you—and dove in.
It was good. Not earth-shattering, but solid and tasty and better than what I could have gotten at Commons. The flavorful, moist turkey won the prize for best ingredient, with the bread (particularly its crust) in a close second. The tomatoes served their purpose, but the
goat cheese was certainly the weak link; it didn’t spread well, so in a given bite it was either a very, very strong flavor or had no presence at all. Moreover, it just wasn’t great cheese. I’ll stick to non-flavored next time, no matter how appealing garlic and herbs sound.
Still, the sandwich was a success, albeit a modest one. The latter is particularly true when considering that the whole shebang cost me $16.47 (though, in fairness, I got another sandwich out of it for dinner and have been munching on the leftover bread and turkey ever since).
Now that everything is said, done, and digested, I’m glad that I unofficially decided to make last Tuesday turkey day, and conducted the closest thing to actually cooking that my dorm room has seen in a while. Still, for the time, the money, and the trouble involved (including the dish-washing), I’ll probably leave it to the pros next time. I now know there’s a reason that practically nobody cooks in their dorm room, but I’m still proud to have joined the ranks of the few who have.