* Welcome to The Big Jewel, where what you eat and how you cook it says a lot about your disturbed state of mind. Just ask Travis Rave.

Messy Sandwich #4 (aka Cooking In Your Twenties And Maybe Your Thirties If You Had Your Heart Torn Out On Tuesday)

By: Travis Rave

Ingredients: bread, mozzarella cheese, sadness, tomato, olive oil, pan, brick, kitchen with stove, penchant for danger and neglect.

  1. Get bread.

Preferably good wide, thick bread, but this is only essential if you’re particularly picky about burns.

  1. Thoroughly oil a wide pan and set the burner to medium heat.

Use a paper towel to spread olive oil evenly. If you are out of paper towels, just dump some in and swirl it about. I like to put in a little more than is necessary, so that if you spill a little water in there, it will spit out a dangerous amount of hot oil. This keeps things exciting and your mind from wandering too far down into “The Hole of Deepening Despair,” a Lifetime movie that seems to be on repeat this week.

  1. Sit down to watch something (not “The Hole of Deepening Despair”) that will undoubtedly make you forget that you’re cooking and alone.
  2. Panic as the smoke alarm goes off. Run to the oven and turn on the oven fan to clear any gathering smoke. Turn burner off to cool pan and then add more oil. At this point, screw the paper towel; just dump that shit in there.
  3. Return to your show, but set a timer because you’ve learned something. As you watch, slice the cheese.

Serrated knife or not, the cheese should cut. If the slices are uneven, that’s okay — it’s only cheese; don’t be bullied.

  1. Place cheese between two pieces of bread and put it into the pan.

Veteran cooks may want to risk a Frisbee-style toss, but this is not recommended due to the excessive amount of oil you put in the pan and your tendency to cause eruptions of flame.

  1. Swirl the sandwich around in the pan to soak up a bunch of the oil. Beware the heat. As it starts to sizzle, put the brick on top.

Quickly remove the brick because you forgot to wrap it in aluminum foil, which means you just put a dirty brick on your sandwich. Consider throwing out the sandwich, but then shrug and quickly wrap the brick and replace it on top of the sandwich.

  1. (Optional) Push down on the brick if you like the sound of sizzling and the invigorating sting of seeing your girlfriend writhing gleefully beneath someone with a hairy back. I mean of hot oil; the sting of hot oil.
  2. After a few minutes, remove the brick and flip the sandwich.

A spatula works well for this. If you don’t have one because you left your old one in the sink after Messy Sandwich #1 and it grew friends, then use a fork. If your forks, too, have begun to socialize, then just use your fucking fingers, okay?

  1. Put the brick back on top and press on it lightly because sizzling and burning now help you to focus on the pain of the present. Ignore that some of the cheese oozes out and will cause you to not want to wash the pan because burned-on cheese is hard to remove and pans are lonely.
  2. After a few minutes (probably one longer than is ideal because you’ve ill-advisedly returned to the couch to nurse your scorched hand), turn off the burner, remove the brick, and slide the oozing mess onto a plate.
  3. Consider eating it, but then curse because you realize you’ve forgotten about the tomato. Quickly slice the tomato, nicking your finger because of the hurry and then curse again (recommendation: “Fuck you, Gina!”). Shake your hand vigorously, but then return to cutting because your stupid sandwich is getting cold. The acidic tomato juice will likely sting when it enters your now numerous wounds.
  4. Cut the sandwich in half, carefully pull the pieces of bread apart, and place two slices of tomato on each side.
  5. Return to the couch and eat with gusto.
  6. Realize you’re still hungry. Curse [Gina] again.
  7. Do your best to wake up tomorrow.