A creature of habit

There’s another sandwich shop just opposite the one with the raw onions. This is an altogether smarter affair, with chicly-attired eastern European women serving the food in a humblingly brisk and competent manner.


But I have gotten myself into a…situation, and I’m not sure how – or whether it’s even possible, without causing offence – to extricate myself from it. The problem, you see, is that they do really good cheese and tomato panini, so that’s what I always order, and now as soon as they see me the staff start preparing a cheese and tomato panini (panino?) for me, before I even get to the counter. Which means that whatever I go in wanting, what I come out with is a cheese and tomato panini, because once they’ve started making it I can hardly ask for something different, can I?


They have lots of other nice-looking food, but I don’t think I’m ever going to get the chance to try it. I suppose I could order a panini and whatever it is I actually want, but that seems unnecessarily extravagant. So I guess I’ll just go on having the panini.

And a raw onion on the side, please

Remember when kebab shops used to display plastic vegetables in their glass-fronted heaters, to make up for the fact that they didn’t sell any fresh food? Maybe they still do it; it’s some time since I’ve visited one (and I’ve still never had a kebab – my kebab shop adventures all took place during my decade of vegetarianism, so I used to make do with chips in pitta bread, which I still crave from time to time).


But a variation on that theme seems to have emerged in sandwich shops, where increasingly I see whole fresh raw vegetables plonked between the trays of sandwich fillings. I hadn’t given this trend much thought until this morning, when I caught the sandwich man next door by surprise as he was carefully arranging green peppers, red onions and tomatoes in a fetching tricolore pattern around the various bowls of tuna mayonnaise (I expect there were more fillings on offer than just tuna mayonnaise, but they all looked like tuna mayonnaise). He was clearly giving it some thought, and it made me wonder what, exactly, he thought he was doing. I wonder if they keep a separate collection of vegetables aside to use purely as decoration? And, you know…why?