the stuff of un-stuffing


I had this ritual. I still have it but I’ll probably be too embarrassed to ever carry it out in front of you so I’ll just explain it. I honed it when I was about nine, when I became obsessed with Jamaican beef patties and ate them (many) throughout the week (almost daily). Since I ate them at home, I almost always microwaved them, so the crust, while still flaky, was soft. I’d peel the top quarter off the top and I chewed on the savoury dough and it’s trace amount of spiced filling. It was a teaser taste, especially with the scented steam floating up to me, hunched over my plate. Then I’d bite into the patty—but from the sides, making my way up one side and then the other. How big those bites would be would depend on how full the patty was. I’d need just enough filling to make each mouthful rewarding at this point while leaving lots inside, for a moment longer. Next I would tear a third of what was left of this patty, with no edges left except along the bottom, and I would eat that strip one bite at a time—so much more filling now! And so tender, maybe the most tender bites where the dough is thin and softened from the heat. Then, and this is where I would seriously burn my tongue and inner cheeks because I could not delay gratification any longer, I would push filling up and out the sides and let it fall into my mouth or scoop it up with my tongue if it was thick. The whole ritual was built for this glorious, maximum-filling, only-best-parts-left situation. This was a lot of filling and no dough, so when I’d peel the remaining patty in half and otherwise eat it “normally”, I was happy to have the sweetness of the dough and the bready texture. The last line of patty, the bottom, the base, with still some filling and all the flavour, I ate straight across like a hotdog. I’d press the crumbs from the plate onto my fingers and place them on my tongue while I savoured the tail end of my experience. It always went too quickly, though I didn’t rush. It was a solitary practice I designed specifically for eating patties. I had a different but no less deliberate one for disrobing ravioli.

Strange? I won’t argue. But do you relate? Maybe? Perhaps you eat patties in a similar way. And pizza pockets. Maybe you bite around a corn dog before taking a bite of meat. There is something about the back and forth with stuffed anything that begs for a little ritual. That makes you want a little more of the casing, or maybe most often, that makes you wish you’d order double-stuffed. Even if you don’t have my particular fondness (obsession) for beef patties or a (worrisome) ritual, you will appreciate this issue. Who doesn’t love food with more food stuffed inside?

All of the recipes I could stuff into one issue, I did. Get “STUFFED”, ISSUE 016 of Le Sauce Magazine, here:

stuffed recipes