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She Eats it Dry?

Updated: Apr 3

Singing and dancing sensation Jennifer Lopez recently released a documentary titled The Greatest Love Story Never Told, treating her fans to a retrospective on her more than 20-year relationship with actor Ben Affleck.

In the film, J Lo reminisces of her childhood in the Bronx, commenting on the film that her “go-to” lunch order at the bodega in those days was “ham and cheese on a roll.’

Which stuck millions as unlikely!

Like much of the Bronx, Jenny’s Castle Hill neighborhood is predominantly Latin American, with Puerto Rican and Dominican ancestry representing more than half of the population.

Residents of Castle Hill are mostly renters with nearly three-quarters of the hood’s population of nearly 200,000 living in low-, mid- or high-rise apartments which line the blocks.

Those building used enough paint that Castle Hill caught the attention of a young paint salesman, despite the neighborhood’s somewhat remote location on the Bronx’s southernmost point. 

More than 30-years later my time in neighborhoods like Castle Hill taught me how to sell a five of Super Hide Semi-Gloss in Spanish, and what to order for lunch in a bodega. 

Which is not the same thing as a deli! 

Many Bronx neighborhoods including Castle Hill are food deserts which leaves bodegas as the only source for a wide range of food and non-food essentials.

Including in most cases, Jenny’s ham and cheese sandwich. 

But to make her sandwich the bodega worker would have had to reach over the pernil, chicharrón, chuletas and mofongo, as well as a selection of beans, rice and other ethnic foods made fresh that day.

All of which struck Lopez’s detractors as for more likely choices!

Had Jenny insisted on ordering a sandwich, she might have enjoyed upgrading to a Cubano–a staple of most Bronx bodegas.  THE Cubano is layered with ham, Swiss and pernil then toasted panini-style on a soft Cuban bread John Montagu would have been proud of.

THE Cuban comes with mustard, unless you beg it off. And if you order it without pickles, they’ll know you’ve been in Hollywood too long!

Still, I have no hate for Jenny’s simple ham and cheese which–once properly dressed–is the go-to sandwich of my own deli drawer!    

Earlier this week I released the fourth episode of my six-part podcast series Charles Gassenheimer’s Lies

I won’t spend words here recapping the episode, since so many of you are watching and listening. And for those who have not, THE title speaks for itself. 

In episode five we reach the end of that original podcast I recorded with Gassenheimer; the penultimate conversation I had with the least ethical person my career ever fated me. 

And while there was loss that I was never able to cash in on the promise of our intentions, I'm grateful that it was a core belief in how to deal with lairs which saved me from a worse fate.

Because the best way to deal with liars, is not to!

On episode six I’ll share what comes next in my coverage of the Kelly-Moore affair, which I plan to continue after a short break.

Those plans include two additional podcast series of three episodes each which focus on other stories I’ve been researching in the eye of Kelly’s storm. 



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