Why are Postmodernists making my sandwich? (An Epic)

To save this establishment some embarrassment, I’m going to omit its name here, but the truly resourceful and/or those familiar with the establishment in question (hereafter referred to as “the establishment”) will be able to glean its identity nonetheless.

So I walked into the establishment today for a casual lunch. Didn’t want anything fancy, just a nice, filling but relatively healthy (read: less than 2500 calories and able to be weighed without a truck scale. This is America so we set our standards a little lower when we talk about “healthy”. More on this later) sandwich of some sort. A-ha! There is a Cajun-spiced grilled chicken sandwich on the menu, and being a sucker for anything with “Cajun” in the name I go for it. I even went so far as to order it by its cutesy menu name, the “Ragin’ Cajun”. Hell, I would have said the cutesy menu names even if it didn’t have the word “Cajun” in it. I absolutely adore cutesy menu names! Some of you scoff at them, I know, but despite - in fact perhaps because of - that fact I simply revel in them. I just love watching the so-called “manly man” in front of me waver and squirm as he tries to order a “Mango smoothie” at Jamba Juice and the clerk asks him, “Do you want the Mega Mango, Mango Mantra, or Mango-a-Go-Go?”

I pay for my sandwich and wait for my number to be called - a rather inordinate amount of time actually, but I am a patient man and I am willing to wait for quality food. It’s going in my body after all. When it finally comes up, I can’t help but notice the sandwich looks a little… stark. As a matter of fact, it consists of exactly two items - a bun and a grilled chicken breast. No dressing, no cheese, no piles of other assorted condiments and gobbly-gook, just the (spiced) chicken and the bun.

“That’s funny,” I think to myself, “I distinctly remember the menu saying it came with pepper jack cheese.”

I ask the clerk. “It’s 65 cents to add cheese.” he says.

“But the menu says it comes with pepper jack”. We both go over and check it together. Sure enough the menu reads, “Cajun Spices, Onions, & Pepper Jack” (no mention of the actual chicken I note, but I suppose that’s inconsequential and adds an element of irony to the situation). He apologizes and tells me that they have a new menu, and are still learning it themselves. Fair enough but… come on, a piece of chicken on a bun? What are they teaching in culinary schools these days? I mean this is America! Maybe in some backwards Third World country, like France, they will serve you a piece of chicken on a bun. But this is America! Yes, America! The land of huge-ass sandwiches piled high with 52 kinds of ingredients (many of them imported from France, hence the lack of sandwich ingredients in France), soaked in a small bathtub of mayo and grease with a pickle and fries on the side! Let me say America one more time for emphasis!

I can only imagine what might have been going through the cook’s head when he sent that alleged “sandwich” out for a customer’s consumption. Possibilities:

  1. “Our customers are gutter trash entirely unworthy of a real sandwich, therefore they shall eat bread and chicken. So I decree, let my will be done. Alfonso, are you writing this down?”

  2. “Real men eat their chicken straight up. I can’t believe this guy even wants a bun.”

  3. (and this is the one I’m banking on) “The American ideal of the sandwich is just so disgusting. It gives young sandwich artists totally distorted perceptions of what a sandwich should look like and destroys their self-esteem when they fail to make sandwiches that look like the ones they see in the magazines and are served at restaurants. They feel like they just can’t cut the mustard and often end up hurting or even killing themselves over it. I for one am taking a stand against this atrocity here and now. American sandwiches be damned, long live chicken on a bun!” as he whipped up my shockingly Postmodern Cajun chicken sandwich into existence.

Well, now I’m the one who’s taking a stand. Dopers, I plead of you - help me in the fight against Postmodern sandwiches. It doesn’t take much - just remember next time you are thinking about sticking some of your meat in a bun - Put a Condiment On.

This one time I ordered a tuna sandwich.

Except what they brought me was a sandwich composed of bread and an actual intact piece of tuna steak – not tuna salad which is what one would usually expect.

Well, OK, that would have been delicious as well, except for the fact that they completely drowned the thing in some rancid ass-mustard sauce with beans in it. Yes, beans.

Worst sandwich ever.

Lovely, lovely rant. Moreover, your use of “cut the mustard” in the final hypothetical really pushed it over the edge. Bravo!

However, I must posit another scenario, which, due to my vast experience in restaurant service, I think the most likely of all.

  1. “Fuck man, there’s a new sandwich. What is it again? Someone look it up. Where’d the book go? Fuck, fuck, fuck! This is taking too long, he’s gonna get pissed. What’s the sandwich again? Ragin’ Cajun? What the fuck is that? Mitch, you know what the fuck a Ragin’ Cajun is? Chicken? Why can’t they call it a fuckin’ chicken sandwich, man? Okay, this is taking way too fuckin’ long now. Just grab me a breast and let’s get this fuckin’ thing out of here - Manuel can deal with the guy in front.”

(There should probably be a few more "fuck"s in there for real kitchen authenticity, but I was always a server, and we lack that valuable vocabulary skill.)

It did say Ragin Cajun, and it did get your a bit miffed. They were trying.

Well, your sandwich (chicken on a bun) sounds a lot like the usual sandwich found at a certain chicken sandwich establishment known for being promoted by cows. That sandwich is basically just chicken on a bun with a couple pickles. If you want mayo or mustard or ketchup you have to add it yourself. So I wouldn’t be too shocked if I received just a chicken breast on a bun from them since that seems to be what they know best. Sure they advertised something else and they should have delivered that something else but all they really seem to know is the minimalist chicken onna bun and it’s not easy for them to think outside the chicken onna bun. So give them a break.

Unless this wasn’t the chicken place promoted by cows, in that case I have nothing.

Wanna trade? I prefer chicken inna bun with no mamby-pamby sauces. Just meat, bun, and pepper. Same with my hamburgers.

I do make exception for hot dogs, though; they get peanut butter instead of pepper. That’s pretty post-modern.

Their standard chicken sandwich is such, but even their specialty chargrilled chicken sandwiches have lettuce, tomatoes, and sometimes cheese and bacon.