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Chicago Is Not Happy With The NYTimes Version Of The Italian Beef Sandwich

By Brian Richards | Social Media | June 26, 2023 |

By Brian Richards | Social Media | June 26, 2023 |


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There are many reasons why people have grown to love and appreciate the FX/Hulu/FX-on-Hulu series The Bear since it premiered last summer. The pitch-black humor, the anxiety and tension that can be felt in almost every scene, the immensely talented cast giving first-rate performances in every episode, the way it has popularized the usage of “Yes, Chef,” the sight of Will Poulter kneading dough and showing off his forearm tattoos while doing so, and causing many a viewer to flood their basement as a result. But one other thing ranks highly on that list, and that is the food. Much like Hannibal, iZombie, and almost any film made by Hayao Miyazaki, The Bear will whet your appetite for the food you’re seeing onscreen, and it will make you ridiculously hungry for the delicious food that Chicago has to offer. (For further proof of this, see the third episode of The Bear’s second season). Specifically, the Italian beef sandwich. A culinary godsend that Chicagoans speak of with well-deserved pride.

Which is why they had a lot to say about Sarah Copeland of New York Times Cooking sharing her own recipe for an Italian beef sandwich, along with an accompanying photo of what it’s expected to look like upon completion.

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And the responses to these were anything but glowing.

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There were even some people in the comments section of that article who looked at the ingredients listed in the recipe (which tried to save face by saying that the addition of parsley to this sandwich is optional), and immediately wanted to know: Where is the seasoning? If you’re going to attempt to make an Italian beef sandwich at home, it needs plenty of seasoning to keep it from tasting like the bland-ass potato salad with raisins (and with a dash or two of cat hair) that your co-worker brings to the office potluck.

Chicagoans also used the opportunity to talk plenty of trash about New York and its food, and as someone who was born and raised in Brooklyn, but also considers Chicago his home away from home? I couldn’t hate on it. 1) Because Chicago has already gotten plenty of undeserved sh-t from New Yorkers (and from Jon Stewart) regarding their deep-dish pizza, which really isn’t the atrocity that we say it is. (When I went to Chicago for the first time in 2013, I had my very first deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s, and I was very impressed. Though when the bartender found out I was visiting from New York, and asked which pizza I liked better, I just played it smart, and told him I liked them both equally.) 2) Because they have every right to call out this abomination for what it was, and to call out the New York Times for showing the world once again (after their debacles of adding peas to guacamole, their recipe for mashed potatoes that only had two ingredients) that their writing about food, much like their writing about trans issues, truly leaves a lot to be desired.

I still haven’t had the pleasure of eating an Italian beef sandwich during my time in Chicago, but I’m already counting down to the day when I can finally return there, and get my hands on one so I can discover for myself what all the fuss is about. I also know good and damn well that the Italian beef sandwich I eat won’t look anything like what the New York Times has in mind, and that there won’t be a single leaf of parsley anywhere on it.