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A Different View

We are elevating the humble sandwich to new heights

Dave O'Connell

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The Leaving Cert class of 1964, celebrating the Golden Jubilee of their graduation from Scoil Mhuire, Ballinasloe, on Saturday night in Hayden’s Hotel (back from left) Kitty Molloy, Mary Kelly, Mhuire McLoughlin, Noreen Connaire, Margaret McDonnell, Josephine Cahill, Heather Carr, Nancy Connell and Kathleen Donnellan, with (front) Mary B Kelly, Mary Madden, Ursulla Comertey, Margaret Kelly, Carmel Jennings, Úna Burke, Maura Cleary and Kathleen Cahill.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time when a sandwich was a simple affair….a slice of ham between two pieces of buttered bread – and the height of sophistication was to cut them diagonally instead of just folding them over. Indeed you might argue that ham turned an ordinary sandwich into a posh snack – most of the time, bread and jam was more the order of the day than Denny’s.

But now a sandwich is a work of art – you can win awards and national acclaim for putting things with clashing or complimentary tastes between slices of bread, pieces of toast, or embedded into a big roll.

We’ve lionised the sandwich with hit songs about the joys of the heart disease-inducing breakfast roll – an entire meal, including soft fried egg, in a bap.

We even adopted other nation’s notions of sandwiches…like the kebab, a meal specifically designed to get more grease and sauce on your shirt and trousers than you could ever possibly get down your throat.

The only impediment to the contents of your ideal sandwich is your own imagination – that, and the powers of your digestive system.

So when did the humble sandwich become an object d’art?

The first time we noticed that there could be more to this figarie than mere bread, butter and a piece of meat was when the Yanks came home for their holidays, looking for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – we’d heard of peanut butter, of course, although we’d never had it.

But how were we to know that what they called jelly, we called jam?

On the other hand, they must have thought we were Neanderthals with our crisp butties or scallion sandwiches.

Perhaps this was the origin of the fusion sandwich – although jam and peanut butter didn’t quite gel on this side of the Atlantic and pastrami on rye was really just something Woody Allen ate in movies around Manhattan.

New York is normally ahead of the posses on most cultural fronts, so it’s no surprise that the city that never sleeps has also come up with some of the more bizarre sandwiches to keep its population wide awake.

Options like baguettes blobbed with sea-urchin roe and smeared with Korean-mustard-oil butter, milk-braised turkey leg on Pullman, or oak-smoked salami squished into an onion roll.

It’s a long way from Tayto or brown banana in your school lunchbox.

There’s a blog called Three Hundred Sandwiches, the work of Stephanie Smith, a thirty-something writer living in Brooklyn who tracks her journey through love with her boyfriend, Eric Schulte – simply known as ‘E’ – in terms of the 300 different sandwiches she will make for him along the way.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Obituaries; the story of a life – told at the death

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Younger people think newspaper obituaries are just for older readers – a kind of version of the line about the elderly reading the death notices to check if they’re alive for another day.

How short-sighted they are, if that’s their take – because obits can be among the liveliest, most entertaining parts of the paper.

They take different tones of course; we tend to be more respectful; more of an appreciation than a critique, and normally written with the permission and oversight of at least a family member.

Those writing for a national or international audience tend to be less circumspect in their analysis of a celebrity’s lifetime – in part for the very reason of their fame.

In other words, the person must be well-known or at least at the head of their field, in order to justify an obituary in the first place – and therefore it’s in effect an evaluation of their life and legacy; the story of a life, told at the death.

That doesn’t mean it has to be reverential or funereal in tone; an injection of humour or context is important if it’s to properly reflect the life and contribution of the subject.

Take a few recent opening paragraphs, marking the passing of these people who ranged from household names to half well-known – like this socialite who was largely famous for being famous and for knowing other famous people.

“Marguerite Littman was beside the pool at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice with Tennessee Williams when a cadaverous girl came shambling past wearing a bikini.

“‘Look, anorexia nervosa,’ Littman said to her companion. ‘Oh, Marguerite, you know everyone,’ came Williams’s reply.”

And it may be apocryphal but it’s still funny – but more critically, you’re suddenly hooked to learn more about a woman you’d probably never heard of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Don’t turn up your nose at those smells making Covid comeback

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things in life that epitomise the joy of anticipation better than opening a brand-new book; the smell of the crisp pages, beautifully bound to reveal its story in your hands and your imagination.

Equally, when you think of a summer’s day, it’s the smell of fresh cut grass that most often springs to mind; the mere thought of it is enough to bring a smile to your face through your mind’s eye.

The association between summer and fresh cut grass is so strong that one band, the Hot House Flowers, built an entire career around it, releasing the same song over and over again.

There are other smells of nature that heighten the senses in summer of course – newly mown hay for a start – and at other times, you know you’re in farming country when the smell of freshly-spread silage wafts in through the car window.

Our eyes may be the most critical of our senses in that, without them, life is a whole lot more difficult to lead – but smell is the sense that can lift you to a higher place.

Think of the aroma that escapes from a bakery or a cake shop; it can have you salivating when you’re not even hungry.

And we all know why so many coffee shops have extractor units that diffuse the smell of roasting coffee beans out onto the street; the Pied Piper of Hamlin wouldn’t work any better in getting you to literally follow your nose.

There’s also the other side of smells – and it’s not just silage.

If you want to quit drinking, for example – or more precisely, to give up drinking nights out – just set yourself a mission of dropping into a pub first thing in the morning, before it’s spic and span and ready to open its doors to the public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Steering clear of mirrors to deny the ageing process

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Only occasionally do you realise you’re actually getting older, because – unless you’re supremely vain – for the most part you’re looking out from yourself, not at yourself.

And then you walk past a mirror or a glass doorway and you think you’re being followed by a balder, fatter, older man – until the penny drops that you’re looking at yourself.

There’s another way to track the years as they fly by; just look at the writing on birthday cards, or more precisely the ones from your kids or young relations.

They start off with a stick man and graduate to a spidery scrawl before there’s a first stab at joined-up writing, evolving eventually to perfectly-formed adult sentences.

And yet you still think you’re not getting older.

I have nieces and nephews who send little video greetings for birthdays and Christmas – and that provides an ever starker reflection of the reality.

Again you go from shy little ones barely, mumbling a happy birthday, to teens with broken voices booming out a message to the big man!

As your age approaches your IQ, you often struggle to remember exactly how old you actually are – and the fall-back for many is to use their kids as a counter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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