For the second post in a row, I start with my Cryin’ Lion icon. Since I last wrote about the prospective changes in Penn State’s food names, head coach Joe Paterno announced his retirement and was fired (in that order) and University President Graham Spanier was also fired. Both terminations are related to being associated with the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.
When the terrible allegations of Sandusky’s misdoings and molestations came into the news less than a week ago, it started a chain of events. Sandusky was arrested, Penn State’s Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley both stepped down from their posts late Sunday, one day after the charges were announced. Sandusky Blitz ice cream flavor was wiped clean from Berkey Creamery’s menu as well as his face from a local mural. I made a final prediction that Peachy Paterno flavor as well as the Joegie’s restaurant might be a limited edition too.
It is all a little closer to reality now and I watchfully wait to see the fate of JoePa’s foodie namesakes. His isn’t the only named items I am watching. Jim pointed out that the Fraser Street Deli, that used to name its sandwiches after movie stars, has quite a few menu items named after Penn State icons that prominently figure in the Sandusky case. Highlighted to the right, you will see sandwiches that today are still named after Spanier, Curley and Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary who, as a 28-year old Graduate Assistant, witnessed Jerry Sandusky raping a ten-year old boy in a shower then chose to leave the scene.
What’s in a name? Why change the names of the sandwiches at all? They are made with the same ingredients (none that are in focus are vegetarian you notice) so what does it matter that today’s turkey breast sandwich is called an Evan Pugh when used to be called a Walt Disney? Today Fraser Street Deli’s Bobbie Jo Solomon sandwich is what used to be called a Fred Astaire. If the idea is to keep it fresh and interesting to the customers, there is also the risk of people judging the sandwich by the actions (or inactions) of whom it has been named for.
There will always be intriguing regional differences in names for almost identical food creations. Taking the example of a specific sandwich, depending on where you are from you might know it as a sub, poor boy, torpedo, Italian sandwich, rocket, zeppelin, blimpie, garibaldi, bomber, wedge, muffuletta, Cuban sandwich, spuckie, gyro, hoagie or… HERO. They are all the same sandwich with different names. The sad difference with choosing to a hero after a celebrated living person (a hero) is that they are still creating their legacies.
It will be a long time until we will be able to tell if justice has been done to Sandusky’s alleged victims. The above mentioned ice creams and sandwiches were named for local sports heros and university demigods. What we are seeing now is what happens when those we have built up and allowed to fly high above us fall, Icarian-like, from grace. Our heros become zeros and their glorified gyros are wiped off of the cute chalkboard menus throughout Penn State campus and downtown State College. It may be superficial and instantaneous but it’s a step in the right direction to see them as sapiens and not superstars.