November 27, 2017
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The LGBTQ Sandwich
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A more inclusive spin on the classic BLT. Just add guacamole and cashew queso.

As a gay man–ish person, I operate from the point of view that everything is inherently queer unless stated otherwise. Food is no exception. (See: John Birdsall’s “America, Your Food Is So Gay.”) From phallic vegetables to yonic fruit, camp cuisines to gay diets, what we eat has a natural lean toward sexuality. Okay, okay: No fruit or vegetable has come out of the closet. No dish has posted a lengthy Instagram confession about its identity. No cuisine has been outed by Gawker. But food is universal and, as universality goes, so is queerness. This inevitably leads me to the LGBTQ Sandwich.

On the surface, the LGBTQ Sandwich is an Internet joke that confuses a BLT with an “LGBT.” The concept is a riff on the brilliant 2016 “bone apple tea” meme, a joke at the expense of food culture via botched culinary lingo. Rational Internet fables suggest the LGBT sandwich to be a BLT with guacamole, an evolution of the simple bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich to feature a smear of guac. But friends, it can be so much more. The idea for a better LGBTQ sandwich struck my boyfriend and I last year while brainstorming the publicity for a gay mini-magazine we launched. The overlap between “BLT” and “LGBTQ” was too obvious to not play with: We’d host BLT-riffing LGBTQ Sandwich dinners celebrating queer food. We never got around to hosting said dinners, but the LGBTQ Sandwich lived on, made in private after ruminating on the dish for months.

So what is an LGBTQ Sandwich? Is it indeed a take on the all-American BLT? Like the queer community, the answer is steps left of center. The L represents lettuce, but here, it’s arugula. The G actually starts with G: guacamole (its etymological root is literally testicular, by the way). The B and T are bacon and tomato, naturally. The Q is included as (vegan) queso, an inclusive sauce to be spread and interpreted however it wishes. Honor Philadelphia’s decision to add brown and black stripes to the flag and serve all this between slices of multigrain bread. 

This sandwich is easy to make and made to share. The extra guacamole and queso can be used as dips. In fact, you can fashion the sandwich however you like. Don’t eat meat? Mushroom is just as bi. Don’t like arugula? Stay loyal to the L. You do you, but no matter what, eat it with pride.

Photo by Jake Cohen

The LGBTQ Sandwich

The LGBTQ Sandwich

4 sandwiches

Ingredients

  • Vegan Queso
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup water (with extra, if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • Guacamole
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 4 avocados
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • Sandwich
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, enough for eight large slices, preferably in two different colors
  • 8 slices thick, fat, rustic bacon
  • Arugula (or another spicy green)
  • 8 slices multigrain bread (to represent the brown and black stripes on the Pride flag)
  • 4 slices fontina or cheddar (optional)

For progressive eaters, the BLT can seem like a dated, limited sandwich. Opt for the more inclusive, forward-thinking LGBTQ Sandwich, a riff on the classic based on an Internet meme, made in homage to the queer community’s diversity. The sandwich mashes the healthy with the indulgent, resulting in a queer and comforting take on an American classic. Read more about it here.

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare cashew queso by blending cashews, tomato paste, chipotle, paprika, yeast, water, 1 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, garlic, and shallot. Add more water as needed to make queso less stiff, but note that the dip should be spreadable instead of soupy.
  3. Prepare the guacamole: Remove the avocado pits and mix together the avocado with chopped tomato, onion, and the serrano. Add in the lime juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, and oregano, and mix. To finesse, add more lime, salt, and pepper as needed.
  4. Lay the bacon flat on a sheet pan with high sides and bake the bacon until crisp at the edges, about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and wash the arugula as the bacon cooks.
  5. Remove bacon and let chill. Dip the faces of bread slices in bacon fat, and place on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until toasted to your liking.
  6. Remove bread and assemble the sandwich: Spread guacamole on bottom slice, on bacon fat side; add tomato slices and pinch salt; add two slices of bacon and small handful of arugula; and smear queso on top slice. Add sliced fontina or cheddar for a nonvegan cheese alternative.
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