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- March 29, 2010
- Vol. 73
- No. 12
Proud to Serve
When a To-Go Order Came from Marines in Afghanistan, N.Y.C. Chef Sara Jenkins Filled It with 300 Free Sandwiches
Porchetta's website clearly notes its delivery zone: a 26-block area serviced by bicycle. But after chef-owner Sara Jenkins confirmed that this message from 6,900 miles away wasn't a prank, she wrote, "Love to." Moreover, there would be no charge, thanks to donations from purveyors Niman Ranch (426 lbs. of pork) and Sullivan St. Bakery (350 ciabatta rolls) and free shipping by DHL.
Afghan law prohibiting the sale of pork (in deference to Muslim belief) doesn't apply to U.S. bases. But re-creating hot, crispy sandwiches in a remote desert raised other challenges. Jenkins, 44, roasted, froze and vacuum-sealed the pork and packed it in boxes with frozen rolls and reheating instructions. "I was worried that they'd get this big stinky mess," she says. But after stops in Germany and Bahrain, the shipment arrived five days later, and Bergmann surprised his squadron with, he says, "the best meal they had had in 11 months." Soon, Jenkins' e-mail box filled with thanks from the troops. "Awesome!" wrote one, Maj. Gerald Cummings. "You brightened our day, taught our taste buds a culinary lesson and raised our pride in our country." Jenkins deflects the praise: "It made me feel good" to provide "a little taste of home."
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