The Dark Underworld of Sandwich Making

What is so difficult about the concept of making a sandwich?

You probably think it’s an easy idea to grasp. I know I do. But are delis and sandwich counters hiring extraterrestrials or (poorly) trained monkeys to make sandwiches? There’s something fundamentally wrong, and I just can’t stand it any longer.

Item one: the bread. Please give me an option besides spongy, flavorless white bread with a soggy, insipid crust. I don’t need artisan french loaves made of virgin kamut/spelt/geranium flour. But a little texture would be good. Structural integrity would be even better.

Item two: the greens. Again, I don’t need fancy. Arugula, fiddlehead ferns and cauliflower sprouts are all well and good, but I’d be happy with some good lettuce or spinach. Ah, but how to define good? First of all, no brown spots. None. If I don’t want them on my salad, I sure as hell don’t want them in my sandwich. Second, they should be dry, not dripping water like they just stepped from a bath. Third, they need to be fresh, not droopy and sad like a Basset hound’s ears.

Item three: tomatoes. If they resemble nothing more than a pink styrofoam ball, either skip them or give me the option to skip them. The chewy pink slabs of unripe tomatoes don’t add anything to a sandwich. Offer me a substitute if you don’t have good tomatoes. I personally think olive salad makes almost any sandwich better, but I’m strange that way. But keep those pink, ghastly imitations of tomatoes off my frigging sandwich.

Item four: the meat. This is my biggest complaint. Who decided that a huge ball of meat in the middle of two slice of bread makes a sandwich? And when I say ball, I mean something the shape of a baseball in the geographic center of the bread, leaving the edges bare and dry. Half your bites are nothing but bread and brown lettuce, and the center is so thick you can’t open your mouth wide enough to accommodate it. The meat, and all the accoutrements, should be evenly distributed on the bread, not mounded in the middle.

Item five: salads. If you’re going to offer the unsuspecting public a tuna, chicken or egg salad. please make sure the predominant ingredient is not mayonnaise. I’m not trying to lube my car’s engine; I just want a sammich. These salads should not be pourable, which is the first sign of mayo abuse. And there should be a federal law requiring full disclosure if any place of business makes these salads with Miracle Whip (gag) instead of mayo. Personally, I think you should also be forced to disclose whether the pickle relish is sweet or dill, plus the addition of any unusual ingredients. This also goes for any kind of slaw that might be included in the sandwich. If it isn’t good enough to eat on its own, it doesn’t belong on my damn sandwich.

Item six: condiments. Please ask before you use a half bottle of mustard, an entire quart of oil and vinegar dressing or heart-stopping amounts of mayonnaise. Some people actually like to taste the other sandwich components. Unless you want your customers to drop dead of coronary artery disease, lighten up on the frigging mayo. And if you do want your customers to drop dead, I’d like to take a look at your business plan.

Item seven: twee things with bread. Does anyone remember how Subway used to cut their bread? They’d take the loaf and cut a darling little trough in the top, wherein they would pack all the sandwich ingredients, then top it with the v-shaped wedge they had cut out, like a twee little hat. I’ve never seen another sandwich more likely to eject its contents onto your lap than this one. Or one with less filling. When I asked them if they could cut my bread in a normal fashion and they said no, I stopped going to Subway. Ahem. Also, if you even think about serving a club sandwich on bread that isn’t toasted, you should be taken back to the kitchen and flogged. Ditto serving any sandwich on stale, decrepit imitations of croissants or using stone-cold, refrigerated bacon that was cooked last Monday.

I didn’t think you needed to be a structural engineer to construct a decent sandwich, but maybe I was wrong.

Don’t even get me started on burgers.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Dark Underworld of Sandwich Making

  1. Sue

    Dare I say it’s a CO thing? I’m not a “everything is better in CA” person but we have some darn fine sandwiches. I think you have to move 🙂

  2. I don’t know what part of CA Sue is from but I know it ain’t Livermore.
    I would LOVE to get you started on burgers, BTW 😉

  3. Amy

    Virgin kamut? Geranium flour? Sounds like stuff you’d find in Boulder, where waitstaff are all too quick to correct diners’ pronunciation of menu items. “Oh. So you’d like an order of kiwi-pom ge-RAH-nium flour crumpets?”.
    If we’re listing sins of the sandwich makers, a personal peeve of mine is delivering to my table a sandwich bun that has been liberally brushed in grease for no good reason. Not sure what a good reason would be, but I’m not a fan of having to go home and wash with Dawn dish detergent just to get the residue of lunch off my hands and face.
    Please, DO get started on burgers!!

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