Taking two questions from last week, one from Nicki and one from B.C:
1. Changing a tire without looking helpless.
First of all, don’t feel self-conscious. Changing a tire is something a lot of people never learn. And it’s been a while since I’ve had to do it, so I fully expect someone to come along and correct me in the comments for all the things I screw up.
Second, locate your lug wrench, jack, and spare tire. Know where they are so you can get to them when you need them. Get them out now to practice with. Find where the jack should be positioned (in front of the rear tire or behind the front tire); many cars will actually have a hole the jack can lock into. Practice extending the jack so that it is positioned properly and raise and lower it a few times to get the feel for it. Put the car back fully onto the ground.
Use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts while the car is resting on all four wheels. I have actually tried to do it after jacking up the car, and I’ll tell you, it just doesn’t work. There’s no resistance, so when you try to turn the lug nuts, the entire wheel will move. Not very useful. Take all the lug nuts off but keep them close.
Now use the jack to lift the car. It doesn’t have to go very far — you just need enough clearance to pull the wheel off. Do that, then put the spare on in its place. Use the jack to lower the car to the ground once more.
Put the lug nuts back on. Use the lug wrench to tighten them.
Replace your tools in your car. Put the tire in your car to take to a garage or repair shop. Double-check your user manual for any limitations on your spare tire (top speed, recommended distance to travel, etc.). You’re good to go!
2. My favorite sandwich
Club sandwich, hands down. Don’t get me wrong, if there’s no turkey available, I’ll happily take a BLT, but I prefer a club in all its triple-decker goodness. (I also enjoy peanut butter and mashed banana on occasion in the morning, especially if I’ve been for a run, or as comfort food, but it’s not my favorite.)
The lettuce should be green and fresh. In order of preference, green leaf > butter > romaine >> iceberg. I like flavor and vitamins in my lettuce, not just texture.
Ideally, the tomato is red and meaty, a nice thick fleshy variety like a Beefsteak or a Black Krim. I adore heirloom tomatoes, but I’ll take whatever’s available at the store if I have to. Pepper should be ground on the tomato, and if the bacon isn’t next to the tomato, the tomato slices should be sprinkled with a tiny dash of salt to bring out their full flavor.
I prefer a nice thick cut of bacon, with a hint of smoke to the flavor. Applewood-smoked center cut is wonderful. Drain and blot the excess grease before using.
For turkey, I actually prefer real turkey slices straight off the bird (or turkey breast), but I’ll use deli sliced if nothing else is available. If I am using deli sliced, though, I take care that it’s not smoked or peppered or anything like that. I just want the turkey to taste like turkey.
Bread should ideally be a nice whole grain, but I think the first clubs I ever had (at Woolworth’s counter!) were on white bread. Toast the bread to a nice golden color — not too dark, not so light that it feels barely warmed — and slather it with mayonnaise (Best Foods/Hellman’s, or homemade if you have it or can make it).
Layers, from bottom to top: bread, lettuce, turkey, bacon, bread, tomato, bacon, lettuce, bread.
Stay tuned for more answers.