August is National Panini Month, and while Julie, the protagonist in Happily Ever After Everyone Else, confesses she “feels like a panini” due to her feeling sandwiched between kids and aging parents who need assistance, she actually would be happy to know that August celebrates this edible delight! Although paninis can be traced back to an Italian cookbook compiled five centuries ago, today’s version did not become trendy until the mid-1970’s. A panini is a grilled sandwich usually made from an Italian baguette, ciabatta, or focaccia roll. (Remember: no ordinary run-of-the-mill sliced bread will do!) To make one of these mouth-watering sandwiches, first slice the roll horizontally and brush the outside of the bread with either olive oil or butter to give the finished sandwich a crisp quality. Next layer a combination of thinly sliced cooked meat and cheese. Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to add a few additional ingredients. Popular embellishments include tomatoes, spinach, olives, peppers, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and spices such as basil, garlic, and oregano. Of course, if you happen to be a Vegan, like Honey, one of the characters in our first book, you could replace the meat with eggplant, zucchini, or other vegetables that can be grilled. Once you’ve assembled your creation, place it in the panini press or another toasting sandwich machine. Don’t happen to have one of those appliances? Don’t despair. Just place your sandwich on the grill and strongly press down with your spatula till the bread is toasted, flip, repeat, and voila! Your panini creation is ready to enjoy!
No matter what ingredients you choose to place in the baguette, ciabatta, or focaccia roll, it’s those items that hold the sandwich together . . . just like the generation of wonderful adults who are caring for aging parents while still raising their children . . . just like Julie. Our kudos to those who hold everything together for others in their own particular “sandwich”!
So, the next time you’re enjoying a panini, I hope you will also think of someone you know who might be feeling sandwiched with various responsibilities. Why not extend a helping hand to that individual and let them know you’re thinking of them? That act of caring will taste even better than that panini!
*Special Note: Today’s blog post offers a wonderful recipe for making paninis. If you’d like other recipes connected to our She Said He Said stories, go to the RECIPES page on our website www.shesaidhesaidbooks.com! You will find the recipes that inspired the food and drinks mentioned in Happily Ever After Everyone Else. Our second book, Happily Ever After the Choice will be released January 24, 2019 and the recipes connected with that book will appear on our RECIPES page shortly after the release. “Buon appetito” readers and panini-lovers!