Wednesday 21 October 2015

Memory steaks

I remember the adults looking at her. My sister had just ordered a $40 sandwich. She was 8. Sure, this was Smith and Wollensky, New York, the 90s, and the sandwich was more steak than sandwich. And ok, this sandwich has since shaped my dreams and, more often than not, frustrated my expectations. But she was still an 8 year old ordering a $40 sandwich in a, if not the, quintessential New York steak house, built on the bones of countless cows for big men wielding big knives, big accounts, Brook’s Brothers suits, and a napkin around their necks. And she didn’t blink an eyelid. And she ate it all.

I suspect Smith and Wollensky isn’t a place you’d want to go now. Now, at any rate, that banks are out of fashion and it being unreasonable to expect you could ever pay for anything there by selling granola. I don’t even want to know what the cost of climate change, inflation and time has done to the cost of that sandwich. And by now, after that polite reminder on the menu that they will be adding a 100% gratuity to parties of 1 or more, they’re probably inviting you to ‘Follow us on Facebook’ because someone, somewhere, told them to say that but hasn’t since told them that Facebook is dead.

That said, and as I’ve already said, it is the place that has shaped all the thoughts I’ve ever had on steak sandwiches and the single dining experience to teach me all I needed to know on the subject. And only for $40.00.

This is a collaboration between Yuki Kho and me where we re-create and share (some of) our food memories, no matter how irrelevant. All photos by Yuki Kho, sandwich, memory and words cooked up by me. More to come. 

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