Old School Memory – The Sandwich Boy

I recently joined a Facebook group for alumni of my old school, Hill Valley High School, and have been enjoying posting and reading posts/comments from my old friends, classmates, seniors & juniors from school. I studied in that school from the age of 11 to 15, grades 6th to 10th. After that it was off to a college for my 11th & 12th, known as pre-degree, which was the common education system back then. Anyways, all the waxing eloquent about the good ole days some of us shared during our school days brought me a lot of memories from that time. Someone also went to the school a few days ago and took a few photo to share with us. It has changed a whole lot.

Anyways, one of the memories I had today made me smile a lot. 3 of my cousins have also studied at the same school. Arun who is 3 years older to me, Sandhya who is a year younger and her brother Navin who is 5 years younger to me. It was when I was in the 10th grade that Sandhya & Navin joined Hill Valley after their family moved from Coimbatore back to Cochin and this was the summer of 1991. I was glad for the company and you know it’s kinda nice to have your younger relatives in the same school when you are the top gun aka in the senior most class and a school leader (one of four). And yes it was fun as I was/am very close to them. And I bring you a memory involving Navin majorly and with a supporting role by Sandhya.

Navin, in class 5 at the time, suffers from chronic asthma, although I think in his mid to late 20s he had it much under control. Since I also have bronchitic asthma, if he had a problem while in school, I would be called to help him out, give him his medicine and take care of him until his dad or mom came to pick him up. One such day while I was in class, the school clerk came to our class asking for me as Navin had fallen ill and had a breathing problem, so I was needed. Just behind her was Sandhya and one of her friends waiting for me. I swung into action after taking permission from my teacher and went to the teacher’s lounge room where Navin was resting on a chair. I went up to him, made him take off his shoes and loosen his belt, made him remove his uniform tie and unbutton the top two buttons of his uniform shirt so he breathe easier and relax his breathing. I asked him where his medicines were kept and he replied that it was in his lunch box. So I took his school bag, took out his lunch box and opened it and stopped!

Now, I’m bending on one knee near Navin who is sitting on a chair (or was it a wooden bench, I can’t remember), right behind me are Sandhya & her friend. When I opened his lunch box we could all see what was it it – stacked row after row of sandwiches. So many of them and each had a different filling – some were cheese, some butter, some ketchp etc etc. I was astonished as to how many there were – it was like the counter of a sandwich shop!! And I started laughing, Navin started laughing, Sandhya & her friend started laughing. To anyone else who saw us, it would have been weird “Why are the laughing out so loud when that boy is sick?”

That was a hilarious for us and something special that I remember about Navin and Sandhya and will always keep that memory with me!

Beer Types – Porter

Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th Century. The name came about as a result of its popularity with street and river porters. Most traditional British brewing documentation from the 1700s state that Porter was a blend of three different styles: an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale), with various combinations of blending and staleness. The end result was also commonly known as “Entire Butt” or “Three Threads” and had a pleasing taste of neither new nor old.

In general, the porter is a top-fermented beer that uses black or chocolate malts to create a beer that ranges in color from dark brown to almost black. The taste of a porter should be spicy, chocolaty and be dominated by a distinctive dark malt or roasted grain flavor, with a slight sweetness.  They also tend to be well hopped and the hoppiness can range from bitter to mild.

Often compared to, or confused with Stouts, porters tend to have a lower alcohol content, lighter body and malt character, and a slightly sweeter taste but….the stout actually gets its name from a porter.  The name “stout” for a very dark beer seems to have come about from the name for a strong porter – “extra porter” or “stout porter”.  The name would eventually be shortened to just stout.

Porter pairs well with almost any meat dish. But since the brew is such a complex combination of mild flavors I typically enjoy it on its own. Some famous porters are:

Arcadia’s – London Porter
Anchor Brewing Co.’s – Anchor Porter,
Labatt’s – Labatt Porter,
Fuller’s – London Porter
Samuel Smith’s – Taddy Porter

and the one pictured here is Sleeman Fine Porter from Sleeman.