Forgive me, Lord.

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The key to a perfect sandwich is heat — whether traditionally toasted, browned in a pan with a pat of butter, or compacted with a panini press. Any method used to crisp up the bread and melt the cheese elevates the sandwich from plain to gourmet in a matter of minutes.

One seemingly insignificant Tuesday, after nine hours of class, I decided to round out my day with a warm sandwich. From the fridge I carefully selected my materials: creamy pesto, a plump tomato, tender spinach, and a thick slice of mozzarella. I built my sandwich on fresh, whole-grain bread while I heated up a small slab of butter in my nonstick pan. I gingerly placed my sandwich in the skillet and basked in the sound of sizzling as the butter began browning the bread. After a few minutes, I flipped the sandwich over. Though I was delighted by the bread’s golden color, the mozzarella had scarcely melted. How could I possibly expect to enjoy a sandwich with cold cheese?

Perplexed, I began to problem solve. Back home I used a panini press to ensure heat penetrated each layer of my sandwich, but my petite Parisian kitchen did not allow for any extraneous appliances. So, I reasoned, I would have to invent my own. I peered into my pantry and spotted a heavy-bottomed pot. Delighted, I placed it on top of my sandwich in hopes of compressing it and persuading the heat from my stove to permeate each layer.

Several minutes later, I flipped the sandwich again to discover only half-melted mozzarella. Still dissatisfied, I expanded my search for make- shift panini equipment to my bedroom where I spotted the heaviest book I owned: the New Oxford Annotated Bible. I picked it up apprehensively and weighed it in each hand. It was definitely heavier than my pot, but the thought of using a religious text to aid my dinner preparations unnerved me. Desperately, I gazed back at my lukewarm sandwich and made my decision.

Half an hour later, as I piled my plate and pan into the sink and began to wash them, I reveled in the memory of my meal: I could still taste the melted mozzarella, the crunch of the bread, and the sweetness of the tomato. I praised myself for my culinary expertise, wiped the grease off of the cover of the Bible, and placed it back on the shelf.

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Award-winning and losing journalist | Freelance audio producer | Writer |

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