Putting The Sandwich Back On The Pedestal
One meal that has stood the test of time is the mighty sandwich. Invented in 1762 by John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, while he was playing poker, the sandwich is versatile, convenient, and complete. With the right ingredients, it can be the ultimate snack, or a meal in itself.
Sadly, I’ve put the sandwich on the back burner as of late. The last time I made a sandwich? I can’t recall. The only time I eat sandwiches is when there are leftovers in the conference room after an executive meeting ends. Seriously.
Maybe I’ve taken the sandwich for granted. It wasn’t until I came across a recent article that placed the sandwich back on the pedestal. According to the NPD market research group, the sandwich is the most popular main dish in American homes. Really?
I was never good at making one because while it might look easy, there’s more to it then meets the eye. Something as simple as making a BLT has never been within grasp because I never understood Sandwich Making 101. Maybe I suck at making sandwiches because I don’t have any sandwich-making passion boiling in my veins.
Obviously, I’m not a sandwich fan, but after reading the article, I think I’m ready to turn over a new leaf.
Sisha Ortuzar, cofounder of the upscale Wichcraft sandwich shops, emphasis the idea of sandwich architecture. It’s more than just about throwing ingredients together between two slices of bread. Texture, flavor combinations, and durability all play a role in conveying that “wow” factor at first bite.
I will be following these 10 expert tips the next time I make a sandwich:
- Good ingredients make good sandwiches.
- “Since sandwiches are usually closed, don’t worry about how ingredients look, only how they taste. Use odd leftovers like the ends of a roast, broken mushroom bits, bruised tomatoes and crumbled cheese.” — Sisha Ortuzar, co-founder of ‘Wichcraft
- “One of the biggest secrets to a good sandwich is butter. Lightly butter the bread before adding the other ingredients. Butter seals the bread so it doesn’t become soggy by absorbing moisture from the other ingredients.” — Mark Bittman, TV host, cookbook author and writer of the popular “Minimalist” column in the New York Times
- “Be as creative with a sandwich as you are with every other kind of cooking. Avoid preconceptions, like always combining lettuce, tomato and mayo, and let your imagination guide you.” – Ortuzar
- “Don’t mix ingredients that don’t make sense together. If you wouldn’t eat them together on a plate, you probably won’t want to eat them in a sandwich.” – Ortuzar
- “When making grilled cheese sandwiches, always butter the bread, not the pan, for even distribution. Experiment with different types of cheese. If you’re used to American cheese, try Cheddar or other good melting cheeses like Monterey Jack, Gruyere, gouda or Colby.” — Laura Werlin, author of “Great Grilled Cheese”
- “Avoid unrecognizable meats like luncheon meat. It’s much better to use inexpensive but honest ingredients, like hardboiled eggs. A simple garlic-sauteed spinach served with sliced hard boiled eggs on good bread is a wonderful, simple sandwich, much better than just halfway decent cold cuts.” – Bittman
- “Certain ingredients shouldn’t touch each other, even if they are in the same sandwich, like lettuce and mayonnaise. Otherwise you’ll end up with limp lettuce and watered down mayo.” – Ortuzar
- “Don’t forget to season a sandwich properly. A little salt and pepper will go a long way in bringing all the flavors together.” – Ortuzar
- “When packing sandwiches for picnics bring the fixings in separate containers and make the sandwich fresh on the spot.” — Bittman