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There are a lot of things that divide us. Politics, sure. Religion is a big one. Favorite Bachelorette contestants can always spark a lively debate when you get tired of talking about abortion. But one of the hardest hitting topics that it’s time we put an end to isn’t about who should be president, who we should pray to, or who should get the next rose.
The thing that divides us the most is none other than a sandwich. And I’ve just about had it.
From coast to coast, sea to shining sea, cliché to other cliché, people swear up and down that their town, their state, their region, even, has the the perfect sandwich. You wouldn’t think some cheese, meat, and veggies could cause so much drama, but then again we spend an absurd amount of hours watching The Great British Baking Show so we shouldn’t honestly be surprised. And while Philly might say their cheesesteaks are the best, and New England is home to the infamous lobster roll, and let’s not forget East Coast’s Wawa, that supplies late-night sammies to drunk college kids night after night. While these are all fair and worthy contenders, there’s one sandwich and one sandwich alone that stands at the top.
The Pub Sub.
First and foremost, if you grew up or live as an adult without Publix, I’m sincerely sorry for your miserable fucking life. One of the hardest parts of moving to Texas for me was accepting that I would be without the heaven on Earth that is Publix. I cried in HEB the first time I went grocery shopping, that’s how bad it was.
But it’s not only Publix’s vast and amazing glory that devides us, even though sure, other people wrongly think they have better grocery stores. No, what truly sets us, and Publix, apart is the sandwich. The Publix Sub.
Cutely shortneed to Pub Sub by those of us who picked one up in the afternoon when we skipped our last three periods to lounge at the beach, the Publix Sub is unlike any fast-service sandwich out there. Coming from the world-class bakery (yes, I decided it’s world-class), the bread is not only fresh, light, and fluffy, but it’s created so beautifully, so decedantly that your body literally rejects the carbs. They don’t turn into fat on your body. They turn into love.
Now, the Pub Sub most of us crave when we’re 1,199 miles from our favorite grocery store is the chicken tender sub. This beauty is filled with Publix’s hot, fresh chicken strips and most of the time? We get our chicken tossed in buffalo sauce because it’s what George W. Jenkins, the founder of Publix, would have wanted. But, there are other meats and protein too. Luscious honey maple turkey and warm roast beef. Italian sandwiches filled with fresh salami and Cubans filled with tender pork and sweet ham. Boar’s Head meats or Publix’s deli (trust me, it’s just as good) fill the creviaces of your bread and leave you drolling before the angel behind the counter can even add the rest.
And just when you think it’s too good to handle, we get into the toppings. Dear, God. The toppings. The freshest veggies, the most delicious sauces, the choicest cheeses. Whether you pile on the lettuce, the cucumber, and the fat free vinaigrette, or say “fuck it” and double down on the cheese and ranch, there’s no wrong answer here. There’s no one to judge you. There’s just other people looking at your soon-to-be sandwich in wonder, proud of you for making such a great meal move.
There’s a reason us Florida kids who moved away hit up Publix the second we set foot in our hometowns. There’s a reason we send you Snapchats of our Pub Subs, begging you to see just how beautiful it is. There’s a reason all of you are laughily wrong when you try to say that your grocery store makes better sandwiches than Publix.
Because the Pub Sub is not just a sub. It’s not just a sandwhich. The Pub Sub is, for most of us, home. A giant, gleaming, envy-enducing home. And there’s nothing more wonderful than that. Besides, I’m pretty sure if John Lennon was still around, the lyrics to Imagine would have gone a little bit differently.
Imagine all the people living life in Publix, you
You may say I’m a carb-eater
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will eat a Pub Sub .
Image via Andrew Friedgen