Monday, November 7, 2016

Tempest in a Sandwich

The chopped cheese is a New York success story — with a somewhat charged twist.

The sandwich, also called a chop cheese — ground beef with onions, topped by melted cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes and condiments on a hero roll — has long been a staple of bodegas in Harlem and the Bronx. Now, it has started migrating from grill tops to restaurant menus, from the lyrics of rappers onto the pages of food blogs.

But this wider recognition has come with a side of controversy.

In June, a video made by a 20-year-old man from Harlem as a retort to a segment about the sandwich went viral, igniting a discussion about culture and privilege. The news that a new restaurant on the Upper West Side would feature a version costing more than $10 provoked another round of criticism.

Grab a seat, preferably a park bench. This is a story about how in a country in the midst of a roiling debate about race and class, a sandwich is not just a sandwich.

by Eli Rosenberg, NY Times | Read more:
Image: Nicole Craine