Bogo Circus Is On The Air

Dan Malovany, editor

‘Tis the season to be jowl-ly…. Yes, this is the time of the year to be generous, so here’s a BOGO (buy-one-get-one) for everyone for the holidays. Woo-hoo!
First, let’s explore what’s on everyone’s mind. Is a burrito a sandwich?
According to Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Locke, no way.
I know this sounds like yet another incredibly nitwitted lawsuit, and it is. However, it’s something that I have spent countless sleepless nights thinking about over the last month, along with why Katie Holmes married Tom Cruise, whether FedEx will ever deliver on the naughty Britney Spears video and why Emmitt Smith embarrassed a nation full of beer-guzzling football fans by competing on “Dancing With the Stars.” Emmitt, Emmitt, Emmitt.
Actually, the judge was resolving a dispute involving Panera Bread, which wanted to prevent Qdoba Mexican Grill from moving into a local mall. Panera’s lease has a clause that prevents other sandwich shops from opening there. I guess it’s like one of those laws that bans a liquor store from opening 100 ft. from a local church … but I digress.
Forget that Panera wants to be the 900-store bully in the quick-casual segment of the foodservice industry. The St. Louis company claimed it simply wanted to invoke the clause to keep the evil burrito chain at bay. That’s because burritos, Panera said, are essentially sandwiches because they’re made with tortillas, and tortillas are essentially bread, and bread is, uh, bread. For this reason, it said Qdoba was infringing on Panera’s territory. Bring in Judge Wapner.
Actually, Judge Locke would be a good fit for “The People’s Court.” Relying on such irrefutable evidence as a dictionary and testimony from a former agriculture official and a local chef, the judge ruled against Panera because — don’t laugh — burritos and tacos are made with a single tortilla, while a sandwich is made with two slices of bread.
Even sillier than the judge’s decision is the local chef from Cambridge, Mass., home of Harvard University. He testified that no “credible chef or culinary historian” would call a burrito a sandwich.
I’m neither a chef nor a culinary historian — nor even credible, at times — but I really believe that the judge and the chef got it all wrong, and the bully was right. When it comes to lunch, burritos, burgers, panini and pizza all compete against one another.
At least — and here’s your freebie — that’s exactly what happened at America’s Healthy Sandwich Showdown, which was held in November in conjunction with National Sandwich Month. The competition asked everyday cooks to enter their favorite healthy sandwich recipes on the Grain Foods Foundation’s Web site to win a trip to Sandwich of Kent, England. In all, some 1,250 entries competed to be crowned the nation’s healthiest, best-tasting sandwich.
Tracey McCaughey of Ardmore, Pa., won the showdown with a “grilled chicken with pomegranate and caramelized onion reduction and goat cheese” sandwich made on a Kaiser roll. Visit the GFF’s Web site,, to view the winning recipe.
By the way, the foundation noted that it received a handful of sandwich recipes that use tortillas. They weren’t disqualified, and to me, that was a sage decision.
Unfortunately, some members of the judiciary obviously believe that sage is something you put in soup and not something that’s found between the ears. In Massachusetts, unlike in the Southwest where a burrito is a sandwich, justice not only is blind, but it also doesn’t have a clue. Maybe the good judge should experience what life has to offer.
I have a suggestion: Go to Subway, and try a wrap. With a coupon, you might get a free sub, as well.