One good thing that came out of kitesurfing was that E wanted to get in better shape. Running is what I do to stay sane and stay skinny. I love getting outside, listening to music and keeping pace to thumping beat of dance music while letting my thoughts wander. Each morning, I throw my running gear on and take off on my own, returning after E has woken up and read about 10 newspapers on his iPad. I never suggested E come with me because I knew he is not one for a lot of exercise, save for kitesurfing. But because we don’t live on a windy beach, he can’t kite regularly. If he gets in 40 days of kiting a year, he’s lucky.
After a chiseled, Hercules-looking kitesurfing buddy in Brazil noticed E’s not-so-rock hard abs, the friend told E, “one month here, you’ll look like me.” E has been hellbent on getting those abs since.
When we were in Rio, I wanted to go running by the beach. “That sounds like a good idea. I should go with you,” E told me, and we ran barefoot along Praia de Flamengo. There was something comforting about having him by my side, plus we were getting quality time together, even though we weren’t speaking to one another. There was also the motivational boost of running with someone, E acted as a pace setter to make sure I didn’t run too lazily, and I challenged him to run farther than he’s used to.
When we got back to New York, E signed up for CrossFit classes and suggested we run together. Happily surprised, I took him along my favorite running route, down by the East River water front under the Brooklyn Bridge, through Brooklyn Bridge Park and over to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. It was an intimate thing share my escape route with E, but he appreciated the beauty of the scenery of the waterfront as much as I did. And he kept up beautifully. “Honey, I’m super proud of you.” I told him. The next day, Nov. 5, E wanted to go back out on the same path.
The route we ran by took us by some of the most damaged areas in DUMBO affected by Hurricane Sandy–Jane’s Carousel, One Girl Cookies, the old tobacco factory whose doors were blown open and debris strewn around inside. With Sandy in mind, I thought of the most damaged regions still cleaning up, which included New Jersey. Amongst the myriad of heroic acts local governments did to save lives, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed an executive order to move Halloween to Nov. 5, since the storm ruined most Oct. 31 festivities.
You’ve seen Gov. Christie–he’s a tough talkin’, heavy set guy who clearly never misses a meal and is the polar opposite of the physique that E’s trying to achieve. But despite being not the healthiest mayor in office, you gotta give it to a mayor who believes among the top priorities to getting Jersey up and running is to make sure a hurricane doesn’t prohibit kids from getting their trick-or-treat on. Thus, the “Monte Christ-ie” was what I felt like cooking for breakfast on Monday.
People asked me why I hadn’t made a “Sandy” sandwich yet. For one, E and I weren’t hunkered down in New York during the storm. And two, I didn’t want to make light, or be perceived of making light, of a tragedy. But I can honor one of the heroes of Sandy with a Monte Cristo, or a Monte Christie, sandwich. And of course, feed my hungry E after his four-mile run.
4 slices bread
1/3 cup milk
1/4 pound ham
1/4 pound turkey
4 thin slices Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons red or black currant jam
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk egg and milk together in shallow bowl, and sprinkle with salt and pepper for seasoning. On a workable surface, assemble the sandwiches—lay two pieces of bread out and slather on dijon mustard. Then layer on equal portions of turkey and ham on each sandwich. Next layer on the cheese, and top both piles with the other slices of bread, assembling a sandwich. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium sized skillet on low to medium heat. Now, carefully hold one sandwich in both hands and coat top and bottom and the sides in the egg and milk mixture. Then, place in skillet and fry the sandwich for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping once. Remove from skillet, and sprinkle powdered sugar on top of sandwich. Serve with side of red or black currant jam. Makes two sandwiches.