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When I ask friends to try the “JoJo Bebbie Writes Home” Sandwich  at Zingerman’s this month, they wonder why.  “For starters,” I say, “it’s a fundraiser for young writers at 826Michigan, an awesome non-profit.”

Sometimes they ask, “What’s a Jo Jo Bebbie?”

It’s roasted turkey with honey mustard, over-roasted tomato spread, and lettuce on warm Zingerman’s rye bread. Some recent reviews…

“Brilliant pairing of sun dried tomato sauce, mustard and rye.   Bright, unexpected tastes jump to the tongue with each bite. Wonderful textures.  Turkey is somehow the perfect medium for this special treat.  I intended to take the second half home in a bag, but more satisfyingly carried it away in my tummy.”–Alan Leichman

“Sweet, savory, and so, so good! The JoJo Bebbie Writes Home is an inspired combination of flavors and textures that delights the senses and makes a hungry belly coo with delight.”–Bob Merion



deb and bob2018-Margot-Jojo2018-Jojo Nancy2018-Ilene-JojoIMG-0156





2018-jojo-Al and jojoIMG-0513IMG-0518Here is the story behind the sandwich…


“You won!”  my friend Sandra Berman to me. I had just bit into a piece of cantaloupe at Grillin’ in June of 2017.

I scanned her face. No shifty eyes. No evidence of pursed lips about to crack up into an “I got ya!” smile. “Really, Deb, I heard them call your name! You won the “Zingerman’s Name a Sandwich Raffle!”


For the next hour, Sandra and I sat at a picnic table at the Washtenaw County Fairgrounds event with our husbands, Bob and Joe, pondering a name for a new Zingerman’s sandwich. Everyone needed to be included. After all, we had been their guests at the event. Joe is a volunteer cook for the homeless. I had bought the raffle tickets to honor his generosity, and help Zingerman’s.

Joe became Jo Jo (Sandra’s cute pet name for Joe)


Bob + Debbie became Bebbie.

The Jo-Jo Bebbie.

IMG-5461But what about Sandra? Where’s her name? We tried, but couldn’t integrate Sandra’s name in a catchy way.  So Sandra is there but she’s not there. Which is very Zen, just like Sandra (who teaches meditation.)

The next day I realized the name needed a dash of something, like chicken soup needs salt. It needed a noun and a verb, like the famous “Who’s Greenberg, Anyway?” ( corned beef with chopped liver, lettuce & our Russian dressing on rye). I’ll add something about writing, I thought. Then “writes home” popped into my head like a honey bee pops into a rose.

Everyone needs to write home, right? It used to take longer too, like the postcards I wrote as a 12 year old at Camp Kweebec. “Dear Mom and Dad, I made a friend named Cathy. Send some Salt Water Taffy, please! Did the robin’s eggs hatch yet?” I hoped this Zingerman’s sandwich would be something to write home about.

I arranged a date with Lauren Wonch, the amazing Zingerman’s sandwich chef, to create the sandwich. She had sent me a list of the Zingerman’s ingredients in advance, that looked like this…


Sandwich Menu Ingredient List_2016

We met at the Deli, and Laura brought out a smorgasbord of my favorite breads and sandwich ingredients. Designing a sandwich is kind of like sandwich makingwriting a blog…it’s creative…it’s fun… except every time you add another sentence you get a little bit more full. Fortunately, I came hungry.

The Jo-Jo Bebbie Writes Home Is:

Roasted turkey with honey mustard, over-roasted tomato spread, and lettuce on warm Zingerman’s rye bread.

The best sandwich I ever had at Zingerman’s.–Annie Wolock

I’m starting to realize why Annie said this!. The honey mustard is made from a secret recipe. So is the tomato spread. That’s why it tastes like nothing I’ve ever had before.

Winning this sandwich seemed like a great opportunity to help people. So Bob and I decided to match a portion of sales of the sandwich as a donation to 826Michigan.

And on May 29 Zingerman’s is going to match these donations too!

So won’t you try the Jo-Jo Bebbie Writes Home on May 29? Your mouth will say thank you. It might also say “WoW!” (Spoiler alert: The mustard has a big boot kick to it!”

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This year we are going back to Grillin’. I hope you do too. It’s a great cause! And I asked Ari if there is a chance the Jo-Jo become a permanent sandwich.  “There’s always a chance!” he said.

Join the JoJo Bebbie Crowd!



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