The Perfect Pastrami

I almost left my family for this sandwich.

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It was almost too beautiful to eat.

Some want the meaning of life. Others want a good credit score. I want the world’s best pastrami sandwich.

Folks were right about the Bushel ‘N Peck in Grafton, Mass. The portions were big and their sandwiches felt like footballs. One trip to the deli counter made you feel like a primitive, meat-devouring caveman. . . oh, and there were also pickles.

I have lately been obsessed with the shaved meat branch of the sandwich dynasty: pastrami and corned beef. They’re beautiful. The pastrami in this last-known portrait was flirtatious and alluring. It had pickled pastrami. It had tomatoes. It had spicy brown mustard. It was hand-crafted by artisans of the reuben renaissance. Then it was gone.

I’ve survived other edible quests before, like the best apple fritter or the best fish and chips. The best foods are the ones you miss when they’re devoured. If the food was stolen before the feast, you would swear on the grave of your grandmother to find the fools responsible and return what’s rightfully yours to your mouth. This was one of those meals.

One day, I shall return to the deli counter with a modicum of dignity and reorder one of the best damned pastramis on the planet.

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