Sunday Soliloquy: Random Stuff About Steelers/Eagles ‘n at…

Primanti_Menu_2008apr v2a outside right.inddDuring this past week we have published a well-researched opponent preview, the second part of a very thought-provoking article about what is behind the continuing refusal of some to give Mike Tomlin the credit he clearly deserves, some ground-breaking statistical analysis, (okay, perhaps I exaggerate a tad,) game reviews, and so on. All serious stuff.

Today’s post is not like those. It’s been a long and interesting week here in Salt Lake City as we await the imminent birth of Grandchild No. 11, and a tiring one too. So what you’re going to get is a bit of light relief, I hope.

First, about those predictions. Everyone is doing them. And not just for this week. There are plenty of predictions out there, starting the day after the Super Bowl, pretty much, as to who next February’s champion is going to be.

I find this quite remarkable. Some days I can barely predict what I’m going to wear, much less how a team is going to play a year from now which doesn’t, strictly speaking, exist, since no one knows what the eventual personnel grouping is going to be.

But we must like doing these sorts of things, because such exercises go on all the time. It’s sort of like the grading of a team’s draft the day after it is complete—pointless, but you can always hope no one will remember in a few months.

As for weekly games, the prediction gurus go wild. Everyone from the sport writers at your local newspaper to Dave Dameshek are putting out predictions. Dameshek is particularly interesting, being as he is scarring his toddler and now his infant daughter for life by forcing them to pick the games each week. The boy (toddler) has a pretty stellar record, too. Hopefully he’s wrong this week, as he picked the Eagles.

I declined the opportunity to predict the game in my opponent preview this week, as I felt there are too many variables which are completely unpredictable about the Eagles. But I guess it shouldn’t stop me from making a prediction, since the methodology of doing so doesn’t seem to require any particular knowledge.

As I cast about for something to use as a sort of Magic Eight Ball, I decided that perhaps each town’s famous sandwich could be the deciding factor. It didn’t seem right to just look up how many cheesesteaks are sold in Philly at Pat’s King of Steaks and compare it to how many Primanti’s sandwiches are sold at their original shop in the Strip District, as Philadelphia is a much larger place than Pittsburgh and thus didn’t seem like a fair test.

Instead, I’m going to be politically correct and predict the result according to which sandwich is healthier. This is very much damning with faint praise, because I don’t think Leslie Bonci, the Steelers’ nutritionist, would be suggesting either one as a health-enhancing choice. But let’s compare them. Naturally the more healthy sandwich wins, and the winner of the game will be the team represented by the healthiest sandwich.

So what do these things consist of, anyhow? Here is what is supposedly the original ingredient list of a Philly cheesesteak, with an early addition which is part of the history:

1.5 T. Oil, 6 oz rib eye steak, 1/4 onion, Cheez Whiz, crusty Italian roll. Ketchup, mayo, sautéed peppers, sautéed mushrooms, and so on are optional.

Here is the original Primanti sandwich:

1.5 c. Shredded cabbage, dressed with vinegar and olive oil; French fries (1 small russet potato’s worth,) 2 oz capicola (a very delicious Italian charcuterie, if you will forgive the mixed metaphor), 2 oz provolone, 2 slices Italian bread.

Leaving aside the obvious improvement of a light cole slaw over onions fried in a lot of fat, and provolone over the abomination known as Cheez Whiz (in my book it’s a very short step from Cheez Whiz to plastic…) here is the nutrition profile:

  • Philly Cheesesteak (without optional additions:) 980 calories, 62 grams of fat, 1600 mg of sodium.
  • Primanti’s sandwich: 775 calories, 33 grams of fat, 1729 mg of sodium.

It’s pretty obvious that, aside from an inconsequential amount more sodium, the Primanti Bros. sandwich is the healthier choice.

Prediction, based upon the [patent pending] Sandwich Health Index: Steelers 23, Eagles 17

And don’t blame me if you suddenly have an unexplained craving for some sort of unhealthful sandwich on white bread…

And speaking of food, we have a food-related mojo issue going on here in Salt Lake. A short walk from my son and daughter-in-law’s house is Beba’s Mexican Food, a restaurant as authentic as anything you’ll find in the U.S. The  day after I arrived was the Steelers’ Week 1 game, and we ate lunch there, as Edmund had the day off. The Steelers whooped the team from D.C.

The Week 2 game was, of course, six days later, and we also had lunch at Beba’s, since I felt we were taking an enormous chance by not repeating, insofar as possible, the previous week’s successful schedule. (The fact that the food is amazing had nothing to do with my desire to keep up the mojo machine.) The Steelers beat the Bengals, by perhaps less than they should have (see yesterday’s post…), but definitively.

Yesterday my daughter-in-law, who, as I have mentioned, is ready to pop at any moment, expressed an interest in eating at Beba’s. She never knows when it may be her last pre-baby meal, and she’s not taking any chances. I worried a bit about messing with the game-day schedule, but on the other hand I wasn’t about to deny my daughter-in-law (or myself) the opportunity to experience some more of Beba’s wonderful food. So we went, despite my reservations.

But during the meal I realized, WE WERE EATING TACOS (con carnitas, in case you were wondering) SIX DAYS AFTER THE LAST TIME. I have a feeling this is the important part of the equation. Of course, if the Steelers should go down this afternoon, despite the strong evidence presented by the sandwich competition, I will know to eat the tacos on game day next time. It’s a good thing it isn’t a Thursday night game, though, because Beba’s is closed on Thursdays.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. Let’s hope the Steelers fight for the honor of Primanti Bros., and their own for that matter, and bring home a glorious victory in the Battle of the Keystone State. Or the Battle Between Ben Roethlisberger and The New Ben Roethlisberger. Or whatever.




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