Salvation in a Sandwich
All five taste modalities in one messy bite
I’ve always found it difficult to make decisions. Not just in the “can’t-be-bothered” apathetic way of your standard teenager, or the frazzled twenty-something who simply can’t hold a single additional piece of information in their turbo-charged brain, but actual full-fledged clinical anxiety over the most mundane of choices.
For a while, I seemed to manage this affliction well enough. My indecision drove an over-achiever complex that I figured had me destined for greatness. I would be one of the “accomplished” women Mr. Darcy describes to Elizabeth’s incredulity in Pride and Prejudice, just with a twenty-first century twist - hockey instead of needlepoint and debate club instead of flower arranging, or whatever they did back then.
Step 1: Bitter-Sweet
Toast two slices of cinnamon raisin bread to desired level - recommended medium-to-medium dark, as the crispy crunch effect is fundamental to the success of the rest of the sandwich.
Butter lightly to provide a bit of moisture and allow the toast to bond with the sandwich filling.
Yet while little boys and girls everywhere still cling reassuringly to the promise that you can be anything you want to be, the hard reality of adulthood is you simply can’t have it all. It is a frustratingly depressing lesson to learn. But it is also nothing less than miraculous. Identities are lost and found as the more mundane decisions of childhood slowly and subversively give way to profoundly life-changing choices.
I’ve rarely felt so devastated as when I gave up singing at age 13, so conflicted as when I swapped horse riding lessons for driver’s education at 16, or as tormented as when I forsook my childhood dream university for a last minute dark horse candidate at the ripe old age of 18. I am incurably plagued by “what if” questions. An affliction not uncommon in the modern adolescent, yet the magical lens of hindsight has never bestowed its calming wisdom upon me as it seems to do so many of my friends; be it in the aftermath of a gut decision haircut or a carefully considered career change, my anxiety knows no relativity. What if I had never broken up with that first boyfriend in freshman year? What if I had chosen a more practical course of study? What if I had taken that unpaid internship, moved to a different city, finished that first attempt at a book? What if? What if? What if?
Step 2: Savoury & Salty (and a little Sweeter…)
In a bowl, combine one medium-large ripe avocado, two teaspoons of honey, and a sprinkling of red pepper chili flakes. Mashed together with a fork, then spread liberally on one of the pieces of toast.
A few years ago, as economies still struggled to rationalize the reality of the 2008 financial crisis almost a decade after it rocked the world, an Australian millionaire gave a TV interview that sparked indignation across the global millennial population. The reason, luxury property developer Tim Gurner said, that millennials everywhere have not only had to temporarily move back in with their parents but are also likely to never actually own their own home, is that they recklessly spend their money on fancy coffees and avocado toast. Millennials, Tim says, simply expect too much and give too little. Tim, sadly, is not the first to voice this disdain for my peers and me. Almost as soon as the market had stabilized following 2008’s catastrophic disruption, a demoralizing trend emerged from the predominantly Generation X and Baby Boomer journalists (my millennial peers were still fighting each other tooth and nail for the privilege of making these journalists’ morning coffees…for free). It felt like every week there was a new article about the regressive laziness and entitlement of my generation.
These kids these days - they can’t hold a steady job! They don’t know anything about company loyalty. These kids these days - they’re all freeloading off their parents! They aren’t willing to pay their dues. They don’t know the meaning of hard work.
Step 3: First it’s Salty, then it’s Sour
Heat a frying pan with a little butter until the butter has just started to bubble. Fry one or two medium eggs, depending on hunger-level. On medium-low heat spend 2 minutes on the first side, then flip the egg, carefully so as not to break the yolk, for the final 45 seconds. This will ensure the whites are fully cooked while the yolks are still runny. Place egg(s) onto of the avocado-spread toast, then sprinkle to taste with citrus salt.
Millennials entered the workforce in the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We are saddled with unprecedented levels of student debt ($497.6 billion in the United States alone as of 2019), struggling to pay rent (a challenge furthered by the mortgage-interest tax deductions designed to ease the burden of the 2008 crisis on the everyday citizen, but which has actually kept rent rates artificially inflated for the past decade - directly benefiting the very people mocking those millennials who have been forced to try to cobble together some semblance of an adult life from the confines of their parents’ semi-finished basements), and earn 20% less than Baby Boomers did at the same point in their lives, despite being better educated (millennials registered a median household income of $40,581 as of 2017).
We were sold a promise of an antiquated American Dream that was never to be. The 2008 crisis manifested itself differently for everyone - millennials and others alike - but for me it specifically turbo-charged my existing decision-making anxiety. The stakes were too high to even comprehend fully - it seemed that one wrong decision now could mean not merely days or weeks of stress and remorse, but months, years, even a lifetime of “what if?”.
Is it any wonder that I, like so many of my peers, crave versatility? That we fear change and commitment while we prize flexibility, agility, and our own autonomy above all else? That we inherently distrust systems that attempt to force us into a box or down a well-worn path? As the first generation in American history destined to be worse off than our parents, we are navigating the ups and downs of adulthood the best we know how - agonizing over unavoidable forks in the road, weighing our decisions carefully, hedging our bets where we can, and, every once in a while, cutting ourselves some slack with a flat white and an avocado toast sandwich that doesn’t make us choose.
Step 4: The finale
Place the remaining piece of cinnamon raisin toast on top of the egg, squashing it down solidly to break the yolks, then sit back, relax, and enjoy.