When Fat Man detonated over Nagasaki at 11:02 am on August 9th, 1945, the world already knew the power of nuclear weapons—Little Boy had dropped on Hiroshima three days earlier, ushering in a new era: the nuclear age. After World War II, nuclear power was considered a viable, and in fact desirable, energy source; the United States government promoted the development of nuclear energy, at least until public opinion shifted dramatically. Over the past two years, negative public opinion towards nuclear power has decreased in intensity. Many American (did) consider nuclear power a pathway to a greener economy. Following Japan’s latest nuclear crisis, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster, public opinion has once again turned against the nuclear industry. History (namely the Three Mile Island incident) indicates that nuclear energy public opinion is “asymmetrically elastic”—negative opinions about nuclear energy are more lasting and more difficult to change than positive ones. But I have a solution for the nuclear industry: feed consumers Hamdel’s nuclear weapon, the Fat Boy.
Is Hamdel’s Fat Boy a mash-up of those two instruments of destruction? A Little Fat Man Boy? Does the name allude to nuclear weapons, does it comment on the public and environmental health impacts of nuclear power by conflating a symbol of disease (the “fat boy”) with an icon of the nuclear epoch? Probably not. The ingredients—hot lean corned beef, pastrami, American cheese, Russian dressing, and coleslaw—are high in fat. They will make you fat. The combination of salty and sweet would please a child or a hipster. Hence the name Fat Boy. Actually, I’m currently researching nuclear power plant licensing post-Fukushima, and this sandwich most like has nothing to do with nukes or Japan or alternative energy. Whatever, it’s on my mind.
This morning, I went on a six mile run. The sky opened up half-way through, and I got absolutely soaked. Rain, puddles, subway drippings—I encountered all imaginable iterations of “city-contaminated water.” I kept running though, because I knew I had a reward waiting for me. A sandwich so unhealthy that its name sets off flashing warning lights in Moscow, that it induces seizures in nutritionists, that it transforms mortals into superheroes.
Sure, the Fat Boy is just a modified Reuben. Substitute kraut for coleslaw, Swiss for American, rye for the hero, and you’re there. Hamdel’s version feels like hallucinogens and heaven though, a bomb of meat grease and gluey sauce. Almost unbearably salty, the pastrami barely resembles an animal product. If you could eat an angel sandwich—angel wing meat, cured in pink salt, sugar, and herbs—this is what it would taste like. Sustainably farmed and local angel, of course.
I would order this sandwich again, because it’s the best sandwich I’ve tasted at Hamdel thus far.
Next: the Balboa (chicken cutlet topped with ham and melted provolone cheese).