the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Midnight Train to My Blogging Roots

Sometimes it is important to pack your suitcase, climb aboard that midnight train, and head home. To get in touch with your roots. To remind yourself of why you started this arduous journey so long long ago.

In blogging terms, this means riding in the bumpy passenger car for several hours, watching the scenery out the window, traveling past all the monetization, the jealousies, the giveaways, the fighting over labels and conferences and cool kids, chugging over the mountains of who did what and when and why, into the tunnels of the time before the rules were set of what an online writer can and cannot say.

Yes, in blogging terms, this means — talking about what you had for lunch. Those were the days!

Remember those early days, when writing about your lunch WAS the point. We were all so naive back then, so primitive, like the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey. We had just discovered the giant monolith, and did what was natural — we used stones as simple tools, that is until one of the smarter of our tribe realized that the rocks were better served as weapons to hit each other over the head.

No One Cares What You Had For Lunch.

I despised the title of this book the minute it came out several years ago.

Today I ate a tuna fish salad sandwich. It was a mediocre sandwich. Why? My mother has this terrible habit of buying low-fat mayonnaise (the store brand) which has this off-taste, almost metallic on your tongue.

I was especially excited as I created my sandwich because I had bought rye bread at the supermarket, and this type of bread always reminds me of my grandma’s tuna fish sandwiches, pieces of perfection in which dill and onions were delicately mixed in with the tuna. The bread was always sliced diagonally, and a red toothpick was stuck in each half. A dill pickle sat at the side, balancing the plate.

Alas, this supermarket rye bread was a fake. It didn’t have any caraway seeds inside or along the crust, which made the bread the equivalent of a Hooters’ girl without cleavage.

I drank a glass of Snapple Diet Green Tea with the sandwich. It was way too sweet, chock full of Splenda.

All in all, the lunch was a disappointment. But I don’t want to leave this post as a downer. Although the rye bread was bleh, it reminded me of how tasty a GOOD good rye bread can be (not this one), and I vowed to go on a trip this weekend to a decent bakery on Queens Boulevard and pick myself up a decent rye bread, proving that it isn’t always the specific lunch that is important, but the journey.


  1. Backpacking Dad

    My favourite posts describe food.

  2. mary

    Mine too.

  3. Loukia

    Mmm… mayo…. Also tge title of this post has me singing that song… catch the blue train… Somewhere down the crazy river…

  4. Jozet at Halushki

    I like you, Neil. I really, really like you. You do navel-gazing the very, very best.

  5. Jennifer

    I just made a leap and now I want a reuben on rye. But the tuna sounds good, too, only with real mayonnaise, please. And a pickle, a half-dill, if you have one. Thanks.

    Really, really need a post-midnight, staying up late to work, snack. Dining car, 5 minutes?

  6. Juli

    Oh, dear. I’d forgotten all about the apes. I just remembered HAL.

  7. Shannon

    I had a grilled ham and colby-jack cheese on homemade sunflower and honey wheat sandwich. It was a little burnt around the edges, but the ooey goodness made up for it. I too had tea to wash it down with, but unlike Neil, mine was hot green tea with orange, passion fruit, and jasmine. No pickle, toothpick, or Hooters’ girl, but all-in-all a tasty, satisfying meal.

  8. sweatpantsmom

    I just loved this. And I DO care what you had for lunch!

  9. headbang8

    Low fat mayonnaise is a good idea. You’re not getting any younger, you know. Listen to your mother.

  10. Jack

    I still blog like it is 2004. Want to know what my coffee tasted like. 😉

  11. Finn

    This? Is how you write about what you had for lunch.

    It’s not the what, it’s the how.

    P.S. – Supermarket rye? In New York? What’s the matter with you?

    • Lynn

      I like this comment.

  12. Joe Crawford

    When did you start blogging Neil? I want to read about that.

  13. kateanon

    I love hearing about lunch. It’s only a matter of how good one is at describing it or fitting it into their post.

    And, I wish I could find a good rye out here in UT.

  14. therapydoc

    I just ate 2 half scoops of low-fat Edy’s, peanut butter and chocolate swirl, with chocolate sauce and real whipped cream. Then I went back and added the chocolate sauce to the whipped cream, skipped the ice cream. This is after lasagna with mock meat, cheese, and spinach and garlic. Now if that isn’t interesting, nothing is.

  15. Mrs. Q

    People want to read all about what I eat for lunch! It’s quite bizarre! 🙂

    Love your tweets by the way. Please don’t stay away!

  16. magpie

    And I hope you bought real mayo along with the real bread.

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