Pittsburgh Fried Jumbo Sandwich


So, the other day I was internet stalking one of my dates*** and I decided to Google myself. Well, that’s an interesting experience. If you do a Google image search for me, I am a wide variety of retro recipe cards, plates of food, screenshots from the X-Files, and pictures of my cousin, Jessica, who was a professional basketball player.

But through a regular search–you get my LinkedIn, my blog–the usual suspects–and then you get a lot of my poetry. Yeah, I probably never mentioned that: when I was in college I was a Creative Writing major. And my focus (which is the most practical and the most awesome!) was poetry. I am still apologizing to my parents for my choice of major.

Well, so I started looking at my old stuff and I thought, “man, some of this shit is kinda good!” Or at least it seemed that way a couple cocktails in. Anyone read any good poetry lately?


I thought so. Because who reads poetry? I sure as hell didn’t when I was in college and it was my major.

Anyway, I have some stuff that was never published anywhere (and some stuff that was–but gosh, I think a lot of this was lost to the ether of the Internet), so I might occasionally post some of my work here. Is that OK? Don’t worry. It’s not complete esoteric bullshit. A lot of it isn’t much different than my dating stories (which you all love!) and some of it is based on movies. And everyone loves movies. I think I would just add another tab at the top and throw them all in there.

OK, at the end of this post I’ll hit you with one, but in the meantime, here’s a good ol’ Pittsburgh favorite: FRIED JUMBO SAMMICH!

So I am sure that you non-Yinzers are thinking, “WTF is JUMBO?”

Now in LIGHT!

It’s baloney. Or bologna. Or whatever you wanna call mechanically separated pork and chicken that is then shaped into a HUGE hot dog-type cylinder and sliced into perfectly round slices.

And those round slices? They get cooked up nice and crispy in a few tablespoons of margarine:

As they were cooking, they kinda looked like nipples.
This amused me greatly.

Oooooh. Yummy crispy bits.

And then I put the cooked slices on some good ol’ American-style white bread with a healthy schmear of mayonnaise.

Yep. That’s it! Pittsburgh Jumbo Sammich:

A mighty fine Yinzer meal!

I ate it with some canned French-cut green beans and some applesauce. Talk about old school!

The fried jumbo tastes a lot like a BLT. But without the lettuce and tomato. And the fact that it’s all squishy because the bread isn’t toasted. And yeah, it would be totally good toasted and with the L&T, but that’s not’s how I remember having it as a kid. And that’s not how I wanted it now. This is Yinzerella-style.

Anyway, now I’m gonna hit you with a poem. LOL. And in the spirit of my Fried Jumbo, it’s one that’s all about Pittsburgh.

I only fall in love in bars in Pittsburgh,
not the chichi clubs in Boston or New York.
I like a hole-in-the-wall joint
with dark wood paneling and weak lighting,
a decent jukebox and lengthy beer list,  
where the cocktails are strong and cheap
and the bartender knows your drink. 

Manhattans at Mardi Gras.
Sidecars at Kelly’s.
Highballs at the Cage.
I long to sip obscure Belgian brews at Chiodo’s
under a canopy of bras.

The cigarette smoke fog filter, heavy enough to cover Doris Day’s freckles,
the haze obscures scars and imperfections, my smorgasbord of sins.

I only fall in love in bars in Pittsburgh,
and it’s always a filmmaker or a writer,
still young enough to believe that the grass is greener anywhere but here,
(because they’re never from here)
and they don’t yet realize that anywhere but here, things aren’t any better.

Their optimism bleeds all over the table like the mess after shots of tequila.

I collect them and their funny names. 
I stuff their sideburns and t-shirts and scuffed Chuck Taylors into my pockets.
I’ve kept some of them for years.

I find honesty in the old man alone at the end of the bar, nursing his Imp & Iron.
He keeps the establishment from becoming tragically hip.

And when I’m away I miss them,
because I wear this city like a birthmark.
I keep leaving only to boomerang back
like the swallows of Capistrano.

The boys, the artists and idealists,
always ditch me in bars in Pittsburgh;
the same dark, noisy places
where I always take my parting shots. 

So if you got through that, please let me know–should I keep sharing? Or just keep this shit to myself? I’m gonna open it up to a vote! And it’s Steelers colors!

Later taters!

*** BTW, your ex’s Twitter was so goddamned boring I wanted to gouge my eyes out so I could no longer read it. LOL.
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15 Responses to Pittsburgh Fried Jumbo Sandwich

  1. trixfred30 says:

    I thought they looked like Sombreros until I read nipples and now i have to admit they look like nipples. Kind of.

  2. Admittedly, I don’t know shit about poetry but this was good. I’ve seen some really pretentious poems on blogs or “naive” ones – where the writer is really earnest but has a lot of life yet to experience. Feel free to keep posting!

    ps – sorry about your Steelers.

  3. Rusty Cunningham says:

    Aaaahhhh…I was hoping for, “There once was a man from Nantucket…”

    Are we putting anything up for the LoserBowl in Merry Ol’ England? Sept. 29th Vikes vs Steelers!

  4. Jenee Libby says:

    That was one frikkin awesome poem. We used to do gimlets at Kelly’s and stumble home 🙂

  5. Will it freak you out to know that I DID Google you and I DID find some of your poetry and I DID read it? That my dear is because I am your superfan from England and I am looking for clues about where you live so I can come to your house, make a Pittsburgh Fried Jumbo Sandwich when you are not home and then fly back to London without doing the washing up.

    I think internet dating makes stalkers of us all.

  6. Jill says:

    LOVED the poem. That plate of food was something my gram would have fed me – made me miss her.

  7. Michelle says:

    You are the bravest person I know. 🙂

  8. Michael says:

    No need to apologize to me and mom. We love who you are and what you do, including (and especially) the poetry.

  9. Krystal says:

    Outstanding poem! Keep’em coming.

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