For my seventh piece on '12 Days of Christmas' Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!, a Texas Memory story has to be told...
(Scene: living room, chef with a head cold, and a foot of snow moving to the north east)
I was all tucked into bed, surrounded by Kleenex, aspirin, gallons of water, and pillows propped up high.
I began to slip into a nights rest, so the next day I could do my best.
When in a haze this funny looking vision of The Ghost of Christmas past appeared, and began to place thoughts of foods of old into my head...
Like old EL Fenix tacos and enchiladas; cilantro fragrant tortilla soup containing whole corn on the cob from Pappasito's, and queso con carne with thin crispy chips began to dance in my... (oh that's another story, sorry!)
No choice was given the old cowboy ghost took my hand things were flashing, and passing and soon I found myself in the parking lot of The Great Outdoors Sub Shop!
"Why are we here"? I asked my fevered vision friend all dressed in Roy Rogers garb!
"Why oh why, would you do this to me when I have no energy or time to take another trip down south"?
"Come on E, go in and order, as its only a story"! Christmas Cowboy said in that twangy twisted drawl while he twirled his fancy six guns on his fingers.
So in I walked, to the left I moved as the counter person asked "What would you like miss"? Without much thought my mouth opened...#8 on wheat, give me the works, easy lettuce, mayo and extra tomato, and add avocado.
Before I knew it they were making their famous 6-Foot party sub that seemed to go on forever...
I woke up feeling so refreshed, and I began to write a list. I jumped up, dressed, and off to the market I went.
While shopping for the weeks orders- I threw in hoagie rolls, avocados, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, and smoked turkey. Getting as close to my dream as I possibly could, but I knew it was going to need that extra Great Outdoors touch.
I was about to walk away from the deli counter, and to my surprise..I heard that old cowboy whisper, "wait before you walk away". Then I saw a bottle of hoagie dressing on the counter. I knew that with a touch of oregano and Parmesan, to home I would be, and a bit closer to my dream!
Once home I worked in a frenzy, and swearing I could hear that old cowboy laughing with cheer.
I was about to take a bite out of a sandwich that I hold so near and dear!
Man my sanwich tasted good, almost the same, but a fond Texas memory it will remain!
Growing up I was not so fond of sandwiches. My parents worked as hard as they could, but we were poor. So, fried bologna, split fried hot dogs, and grilled cheese were on the menu quite often. Occasionally it was mayo and home grown tomato on stale white bread.
I love them now, but I remember when I first had this sandwich with avocado and dressed up to the tee...well it was the only sandwich I would even begin to eat from a take out. Hubby liked the 'Invention', heated with many meats and cheeses. Recently I tried to get friends to take a photo for me down south, but they are all busy, so unless you are from there...you will just have to take my word for it!
Hubby and I ate them for the next three days...that is until the next ghost came to visit...
Great Outdoors History: See, I knew there was this connection of Texas/New Jersey!
The first Great Outdoor Sub Shop began operations in December of 1973 in downtown Dallas. Being a New Jersey native, I brought with me the knowledge and drive to make a better sub than the one I was making in New Jersey at a local deli. My intention was to fill the authentic eastern style submarine sandwich void. I knew that if I made an authentic "New Jersey" sub, using the highest quality meats and cheeses on Fresh Baked Bread, I could not miss! Being passionate and striving for perfection and uniqueness, I added to my old standbys some newly created custom subs and various proprietary items such as custom formulated & shaped breads and oven roasted fat free turkey. I felt compelled to serve the customer quickly, with a good value, in an honest "in front of the customer" style. I insisted on and hand trained knowledgeable, pleasant associates to work in an organized fun atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, one might ask, "Where did the name Great Outdoors come from?" Two days before opening in 1973, seeing we were in the middle of Downtown Dallas with all the brick, concrete, metal & glass outside the store, I wanted to bring a little feel of the Outdoors inside to compensate and allow the customer to get away, hence "Great Outdoors". Each shop has its own special way of allowing the customer to feel a sense of escape to openness and nature based on creative interior design.
"I experiment with Flavors"...
Elizabeth Stelling, hails from her home state of Texas and has been involved in the food industry via institutional, fast food, B&B's, ethnic eateries and other restaurants since she was fourteen. Now living n New Jersey she has ran her own cafe, teaches culinary classes, runs a small boutique catering and staffing business, restaurant consulting for NJWBO, is a personal chef and shares her love of cooking with local, organic, healthy, and natural ingredients with the community.
Chef E is a member of Slow Food and the American Wine Society, Princeton, New Jersey. She has published written works of poetry and media pieces, as well as ran Open Mics in the Princeton, NJ area.
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