The Human Torch is not for you, my friend.
No offense. Nothing personal. Stick with your tuna salad on whole wheat toast. Or your sliced turkey breast. Or your hot ham and cheese.
The Human Torch is not for you.
Felix Glorioso, who has worked at Glorioso's market on Brady St. since he was 7, invented the Human Torch, and Glorioso's is the only place I know of where the sandwich (which you should never try) is served.
This is the story of how Felix Glorioso invented the Human Torch.
Glorioso once had a customer who constantly complained that the deli's sandwiches were not hot enough. Glorioso is a proud man. Such insults are unacceptable. He tried combination after combination of hot peppers and spicy meats. But the customer had an asbestos mouth. His stomach was made of cast iron.
Glorioso was visiting Italy in the early 1980s and happened to order a hot pepper salad in Rome. Vampires exposed to the sun's piercing rays feel less burn. Glorioso learned the salad's incendiary secrets and returned to Milwaukee.
The trick was in the muffuletta - a mixture of olives, cauliflower, celery, onion, garlic, carrots and several kinds of peppers and in the hot pepper spread, a ruby-colored concoction of crushed peppers, crushed garlic and salt marinated in olive oil for a week to 10 days.
Between the pepper spread smeared on a fresh Italian roll and the muffuletta piled on top, Glorioso layered provolone made from raw milk with slices of calabrese and cappicola sausages.
The idea, Glorioso said, is to combine ingredients that will entice the taste buds and marry them with ingredients that will then burn those taste buds to the floor of your mouth.
When Glorioso's customer tried the sandwich, his right hand shot up in the air.
Explosive, the customer said. Like a rocket, he said.
The man's gesture reminded Glorioso of one of his favorite comic book characters, the Human Torch, specifically the Human Torch as he appeared in Fantastic Four #47.
To this day, Glorioso's cash register code for the Human Torch is 47.
Glorioso figures he sells five or six Human Torches a day. It is difficult to stand next to Glorioso after he's made the sandwich without your eyes watering. He is like a leaky canister of tear gas.
At age 54, Glorioso limits himself to one Human Torch a month. It goes well, he says, with a can (or two) of San Pellegrino Limonata. But he has to be careful.
Ulcers, he says.
You may decide to disregard my advice and eat a Human Torch.
You are a fool.
But if you must, try not to unwrap your sandwich in an enclosed space near unfamiliar people. This is just common courtesy.
If you must, spit out your food discreetly.
Do not breathe on anyone.
And don't touch any sensitive areas of your body - or anyone else's body - until you have thoroughly washed your hands.