“On a coronavirus day, nothing hits the spot more than a tuna melt.” These are the wise words of Virginia senator Mark Warner in a video posted to his Instagram feed earlier this week, after taking a big bite of a sandwich he’s just constructed in an instructional video for his nearly 18,000 followers. While it’s true that nothing hits the spot like a tuna melt—coronavirus day (?) or not—the only problem is that what Senator Warner’s eating in his video is, fundamentally and definitionally, not a tuna melt at all. Or at least not a good tuna melt. Please, have a look for yourselves.
Obviously, the video is more than a little tongue-in-cheek, with Warner warning viewers that “Unless you’re a professional chef, you may want to occasionally pause the video so you can keep up.” He also notes that the sandwich is his “real specialty,” with a parenthetical appearing on screen that defines “specialty” as “(Only thing I can make).” Warner proceeds to squeeze a river of mayo onto two pieces of white bread with some difficulty, daubs the mayo with a can’s worth of Chicken of the Sea, then finishes with sliced medium cheddar (“I’m a two slice man”) and sends the whole thing into the microwave for 30 seconds. The deadpan delivery is a delight to watch, but the zeal with which he takes his first bite of the freshly microwaved sandwich is no joke. The love is real, and it transforms the video into a rather fascinating field report.
Merriam-Webster defines the “melt” as “a sandwich with melted cheese.” (I’m happy for whichever lexicographer had that term in their definition stack that day.) I don’t want to get too precious and say that you have to use rye bread, or that you must toast the sandwich in a skillet or panini press to get a beautiful, salty contrast of textures and flavors, though both would certainly help elevate the senator’s lunch. Instead, at its most basic level, a melt simply cannot be a melt if its cheese isn’t melted, and I just don’t know if 30 seconds in the ol’ MVP5 is going to do much to melt a fresh-from-the-fridge slice, let alone two of them. Doesn’t the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee desire a sandwich slightly more befitting of his title and rank?
I do want to give this video the credit it deserves. There are some good iMovie effects happening, and the comedic timing of the text “(Microwave)” suggests that Warner’s either good at the internet or had his daughters do a punch-up pass on his three-minute-long dad joke. “I can’t get my wife and kids to eat these anymore,” says Warner through a full mouth of lukewarm albacore. Senator, if you’re looking to convert your family to tuna melts, maybe follow a few of our humble suggestions?