An appreciation of the incredible, edible sandwich
When I think about sandwiches, I think about my childhood. My mom used to make the best cold cut and cheese sandwiches for me, whether it was just for home or for school field trips. (Her egg salad or tuna salad sandwiches were pretty yummy, too.)
And while the sandwiches were just a way to fill my young tummy, to me they meant a lot more. The way she let me sleep in her lap on a long car ride (before car seat laws), how she would take care of me when I was sick, or how she’d patiently explain to me why that deer in the movie had to die … and those perfectly made sandwiches. They were all acts of love.
The cycle continues with me. When my husband spies me making a sandwich, he’ll gaze at me with puppy dog eyes until I notice him, or he’ll rest his chin on my shoulder in a pathetic entreaty. When I ask him if he’d like a sandwich, he grins and nods eagerly. You see, to him, if I’ll make him a sandwich, it means I love him. And if you ask him, he’ll tell you that my sandwiches are special.
So this blog is dedicated to the humble sandwich and why we think it deserves to be inducted in the Hall of Food Fame.
Heck, we love sandwiches so much that we started a Facebook group for healthy sandwich lovers. If you have a sweet spot in your heart for sandwiches, please check out The League of Extraordinary Sandwiches and join us!
So why do we love sandwiches? Let me count the ways. (Apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for bastardizing her famous poetry.)
• They’re works of food art. Haven’t you ever made your sandwich, stood back, and declared it a masterpiece of color, texture, and flavor? And at least in my household, “if you build it, they (my hungry husband) will come.”
• We live in a sandwich renaissance. Is it my imagination, or has today’s sandwich world exploded with a huge selection of meats, veggies, combinations, spreads, spices, and styles? Not to mention, the sheer variety of breads and other ways to contain your sandwich boggles the mind. Yes, it’s a good age for sandwiches, folks!
• They’re as flexible as Stretch Armstrong at a pretzel convention. [Tapping the microphone]… hello, is this thing on? Anyway, you get my drift. Sandwiches are very versatile, depending on your mood, your time, and what’s in the fridge. They can be flat or thick, simple or complex, meaty or meatless, messy or neat. The options are endless. (Note: click here if you’re not familiar with Stretch Armstrong.)
• No schooling needed. Pretty much anyone over the age of, say, 3 can make a sandwich. The average sandwich-making person is only limited by the ingredients at hand, how much time they have, the intensity of their hunger, and their creativity.
• They’re portable and you don’t need utensils. This is one of the reasons why the sandwich is such good “survival” food. Wrap it up in wax paper or cling wrap, and you’re good to go. On road trips, for those long soccer days, or for a hike up the valley – kiss your little brown bag of sandwiches and raise it in salute to the sandwich gods.
• Their companion foods are almost as beloved. A handful of chips, a cookie, or a bowl of soup or salad with your sandwich really completes the meal, doesn’t it?
• They fit almost every occasion. The versatility of the sandwich allows it to blend in as a PB&J in a school cafeteria with screaming kids just as well as a dainty finger sandwich in an elegant room at high tea.
In case you didn’t know, November 3 is National Sandwich Day. (We’ve already started preparing. Have you?) It’s also the birthday of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is credited with supposedly “inventing” the concept of putting meat between two slices of bread for his meal. I know November is a ways away, but don’t worry, we’ll remind you to bust out your party hats, bread, and fixings.
We want to know how you fix your favorite sandwich. What are your favorite breads and ingredients? Do you have any secret sandwich tips? I’ll trade you half of my sandwich for them.
Jamie Nakasone is a correspondence specialist at HMSA. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with her husband, reading and playing pool. She is taking her journey to better health with tiny steps and although she describes herself as a “bungling” gardener, she hasn’t given up yet. Follow her on Twitter.