Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

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Today, November 3rd, is the birthday of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. He was either an inveterate gambler or a very hard worker; either way, he did not want to step away from his desk or the card table to take the time to eat. So he supposedly commanded his manservant to bring him some sliced meat between 2 slices of bread. Thus, according to legend, the sandwich was invented.

I am skeptical about this, since putting something in between sliced bread seems like such a natural thing to do. Regardless, the sandwich is a wonderful, convenient thing.

To celebrate the Earl’s birthday, today is also National Sandwich Day in the U.S. When I was growing up and living in England, my father used to regale us with tales of the amazing sandwiches available in that mythical land that us kids had yet to visit. “In America, they have sandwiches where the filling is three or four times as thick as the bread”, he’d tell us. My sister and I shook our heads in disbelief. To us, a sandwich was thinly sliced bread, usually with the crusts off, spread with butter and perhaps a little fish paste. Or a layer of thinly sliced cucumbers. Once in a while we might encounter a ham sandwich, with one thin slice of pink ham. These were the types of sandwiches that we encountered whenever we were invited for tea to our friends’ houses. I grew particularly fond of butter-and-Marmite sandwiches, a staple at the weekly teas we partook of at my history teacher’s house after Sunday School. (The teacher had somehow taken it upon herself to take us to Sunday School every week, perhaps under the impression that it was her Christian duty to take care of the little Asian girls. My parents welcomed the opportunity to sleep in on Sundays.)

Once we got to the U.S. when I was 10, we found out that our father hadn’t been lying to us. American Sandwiches! Big club sandwiches filled with juicy pastrami or sliced turkey or ham, the stack so thick that it had to be held together with cocktail sticks decorated with bits of cellophane. And then there was the hamburger. I had never had a hamburger straight off the grill, plopped onto a soft bun and smeared with ketchup, until it was put on my outstretched plastic plate at a school picnic. My initial impressions of America as the land of abundant food, sunny weather (compared to England anyway) and laughing, friendly people, formed during my first few months here (note: I’m writing to you from the suburbs of New York right now) have never faded away completely.

Once back in Japan, I was re-acquainted with Japanese sandwiches via home economics class. One of the first things we were taught to cook were sandwiches. They had to follow a strict formula: Thinly sliced, bendy white bread (close to English bread), spread with a mixture of softened butter and a tiny bit of mustard, one slice of ham, and one well dried lettuce leaf. 3 or 4 of these sandwiches stacked together, wrapped in a well wrung out tenugui (thin cotton cloth), weighted down on top with a cutting board. Unwrapped after half an hour of ‘resting’ the bread slightly damp; the crusts cut off, and the sandwiches cut into four triangles, or three rectangles, to be arranged neatly on a plate.

Japanese sandwiches can be a bit strange. Besides the very British-influenced sandwiches described above, there are a lot of double-carb sandwiches: korokke sando (fried potato croquettes in a hotdog type bun); potato salad sandwiches; yakisoba sando (stir fried yakisoba noodles on a bun). There are dessert sandwiches too, like sweetened whipped cream with strawberries and kiwi, between slices of buttered crustless bread.

I think my favorite sandwiches at the moment are the small yet hearty ones made by Confiserie Sprüngli in Zürich. They not only vary the fillings, they have different types of bread for each type of sandwich too. Roast vegetables on a pumpkin seed covered whole wheat bun; softly cooked asparagus and hardboiled eggs with mayonnaise on a multigrain mini-baguette; smoked salmon and cream cheese on a buttery soft roll. They are expensive, but I look forward to grabbing a few whenever I can. (There is a Sprüngli store handily located in the train station concourse that is attached to the airport. A sandwich there is the best snack to grab before continuing your trip by rail or air.)

For sandwiches that I make for my own lunches, I prefer the deconstructed method, as shown here for example: Filling and other food in containers, bread carried separately, to assemble right before eating. This avoids the problem of the bread getting soggy by lunchtime unless there is a fat barrier (butter, cream cheese, peanut butter and so on) between the bread and the filling. But occasionally I do like to indulge in an English-influenced Japanese style crustless sandwich - thin white bread slices slathered with soft butter, filled with ham-and-lettuce, tuna salad, or egg salad. Three triangles of these come to about 600 calories, but they bring back such great memories. (You can buy readymade versions at Japanese bakeries.)

What is your favorite sandwich? Do you have any sandwich related memories?

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Sandwiches

I fondly remember the egg salad sandwiches my brother and I would get at the shinkansen stations, or even on the train from one of the cart vendors. It's one of the strongest memories from my childhood trips to Japan. These days I wouldn't call egg salad my favorite, but even as an adult visiting Japan, I'll enjoy a sandwich or two just for nostalgia.

One I haven't had in years

Like the above poster, I like egg salad sandwiches, but I think my favorite is the one my mother used to pack for me in elementary school: peanut butter and brown sugar. Probably about the same as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (calories, nutrition, taste, etc.), but no one else seemed to understand.

It kind of reminds me of being a kid.

Re: One I haven't had in years

This had me scrambling in the kitchen for a jar of pb and some brown sugar!

It's pretty good ^_^

Re: One I haven't had in years

Yes! Finally someone who understands Peanut butter and sugar sandwiches! :)

Re: One I haven't had in years

I used to make Peanut butter and cinnamon sugar sandwiches on toasted bread so the PB would get all melty. I haven't had one since I was really small. Sadly, my Mother isn't much of a cook. Growing up, if I wanted something not from a box or a can, I had to make it myself. I learned to cook at an early age because I like flavorful food. My Mom can barely use a breadmaker, yet I was making artisan breads by myself at age 14. So I am grateful that my mother can't cook and that I had to learn to cook at a young age. The toasted PB and Cinnamon Sugar Sandwich is my very first recipe. I sometimes would also put butter on one of the slices of bread. My favorite sandwich when I was a little older was a Larry, name after the uncle who taught me to make it. It was his father's recipe. It is a Wonder Bread with PB and chocolate syrup inside It was more like dessert than lunch. Other favorites, include but are not limited to: The Reuben, Pastrami on Pumpernickle with pickles and mustard, and the Torta: a sandwich from Mexico that is beans, steak, lettuce, tomatoes, queso fresco, Avocados, and tomatillo salsa in a bollio roll. It sounds delicious huh?

On a side note, the Earl of Sandwich didn't invent it Rabbi Hillel did. IIRC, the Hillel is lamb, lettuce, horseradish, hardboiled egg, charoset, and onion, between two matzo crackers。 I hope that I left nothing out, but if I did, please let me know.

ーオタク

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

what a fun & well-written post, Maki! it is a good reminder that every country has its own take on the beloved sandwich. i LOVED the Japanese thin white crustless bread ones but my mother insisted they Weren't Healthy and would instead feed us American-style ones on homemade thick wheat bread. she was right, of course, but my big allowance splurge would be spending all my hoarded ¥100s on bakery trips that included anpan and yes, those delightful little perfect sando triangles. now that i'm married to a German and have regular trips there, i also look forward to that first belegte brötchen, usually procured immediately at the airport! hooray for the sandwich.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I remember when I was little (and actually to this day) that next to tacos egg salad was my dad's favorite meal, so as a treat on the weekends my mom would boil a couple pots of eggs. She would have me peel the eggs while she sliced them, until I was old enough to handle the egg slicer myself. We would mix everything together with several taste tests along the way and put a generous portion on toasted potato bread with a slice of cheddar cheese. I also remember being scolded for putting too much mustard on my sandwich and eating too many pickles, while my dad got scolded for putting extra mayo on his bread.

And since my mother worked a lot when I was younger sandwiches were always our go to dinner, she would put everything on the table and everyone built their own sandwich. Which worked because on those nights dinner would be on the table in less than 5 minutes of walking in the door.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Dainty little club sandwiches with a filling of mashed egg, ham, a bit of lettuce and a slice of tomato scream "funeral" to me. They're what the funeral directors always provide, along with cups of tea, at the whatever-you-call it straight after the funeral service here in New Zealand. And I love them. You get them other places as well of course, in fact they used to be the standard sandwich at tearooms, but they're sort of old fashioned these days and seem to remain mostly as funeral food.
My favourite sandwiches from shops would have to be the "Dagwood", which is a NZ take on the overstuffed American sandwich with lots of fillings (egg, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce, grated carrot, mayo, whatever else they have on hand) between two white bread crusts all tightly wrapped in GladWrap. There being only two crusts per loaf of bread you don't get so many of them produced, and there's only one shop I can think of where I live that still makes them.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I hope you don't mind, but I linked your page to my blog at http://queensforgottenchildren.blogspot.com . Feel free to take a look; if you want me to take the link down, just let me know.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I agree, Maki, that this is a fantastic post--as evidenced by the wistful and nostalgic tone all the commenters are taking. My happiest-memory sandwich sounds deeply unappetizing now: White bread with tons of mayo, mustard, ham, tomatoes, and lettuce, left all day at the bottom of a wrinkled sack until the tomato juices turned the bread into goo, and to eat it you had to dip your face into the paper lunch bag so the tomato-mayo-ey drips would remain in there. We were dirt poor and my dad got a construction job in which the company provided a lunch-making buffet in the mornings so the workers--many of whom were also from the underclass--would be able to heft concrete blocks for longer. Dad always made an extra sandwich and, when the family station wagon came to fetch him after work, passed around the sack so we could all take bites. Thinking back, I realize this was often our only contact with vegetables (we lived in Alaska) during the winter months, and to this day I think of any sandwich with lettuce on it as "rich people's food." Wow. Thanks for the invitation to remember.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Tomato sandwiches, hands down. It's a southeastern US tradition to use all those tomatoes everyone seems to grow in their back yard in the summer in daily sandwiches. You slice the tomatoes thickly (my mom always peeled them too) and just add mayo and bread. It's a cooling food. Now, I sometimes add sliced cucumber. Funny though, I didn't like these at all when I was young, and my dad even told me I wasn't "southern" if I didn't like tomato sandwiches! I think that all changed in college, and it's one thing I look forward to about summertime.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I agree with the tomato sandwich! Yum! Although, I also add a little salt and pepper to the tomatoes on my sandwich. Like Laura, I hated them when I was a child, and my grandmother would always tell me that I would understand when I was older.

Of course, since I'm from Louisiana, Po'boys are my favorite sandwich to eat. Especially fried oysters on Louisiana French bread (crusty on the outside, soft on the inside)!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Best sandwich: eaten on a riverbank after a long morning canoeing, made of store-bought bagels, peanut butter, honey, cheddar, ham, cheetos, and apple slices. I think those sandwiches must have had about 800 calories. Thanks for a great post.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

But...I like the bread mushy!

When I was a kid I had really crappy taste in sandwiches (just perhaps why I am fat now :| )
Straight up mayo-on-wonderbread was my saturday special.
In high school I would get salami, cheese and butter on a kaiser roll, put french fries in there and then dip the sandwich in ketchup (not the whole sandwich, just the part I was going to bite)
The best was mom's sandwiches though. When you pulled them from your backpack, you just knew they would be perfectly mushed by the juice box, totally room temperature, with plenty of mayo. Mmmmm!

These days my first choice is tuna-salad sandwich, or else sliced turkey or chicken with mayo. No wonderbread here though...

hana.yori.dango

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Though my parents ate meat my older sister was a vegitarian. So often when we were left alone for a few hours after school we would try to think of things we could both eat. A lot of times we would make sandwichs. The one that we always had as kids was a classic elvis peanut butter and bannana sandwich as I got older I got very interested in cooking and things so I would spend hours pondering what to put inbetween the two slices of bread. :D Our favorite sandwitch was what we called "the guacamole". We spred mashed avacado with a bit of lime juce in it on two toasted bread slices and put carmelized onions, garlic, and rosted peppers inbetween. Its messy but very good. :D

wonderful post!

i find it funny that as soon as you asked about our favorite sandwiches, the first and only thing that came to my mind was the little scrambled egg breakfast sandwiches my mom would pack for us to eat on the way out to the ocean. my father was (and still is) and avid fisherman, and he would pack his family along with a days worth of food onto his boat at 4am so we could be out on the ocean by sunrise. we'd stay out there all day, or until the food ran out =) either way, i remember being dog tired, and crammed in the front of the boat with my brother and sister. each of us would get a warm tin foil wrapped sandwich, made of soft portugese rolls, scrambled eggs, a slice of cheese, and some ketchup on top. i'm pretty sure i didn't even like them at the time, but for some reason they are my best "sandwich memory"!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I've heard the same story of a brithish Lord that went on hunting with his friends but hunted nothing so when they returned home they hadn't food for dinner so he asked his servants so bring some ham and cheese between bread.
I don't know which is the correct version. But i agree with you that to make a sandwich is something anyone else would have imagined befre! :)

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

thanks for the lovely idea Maki! So many memories!
In Italy bread is - or should be - crusty and crunchy. Tomato and cheese or tomato and tuna on crusty bread taste like summer to me. However, in the region close to Venice where my parents come from, a popular variety of sandwiches, called tramezzini, is made with crustless white bread, quite similar to the British one: they are small and very soft, but not at all soggy, the filling is always full of mayo, and they are meant to be eaten with a glass of wine as a quick snack. I loved them as a child, even if now I just hate mayo! Of course i left the wine bit to the grown ups. I loved going shopping with my mum when we were on holiday and went to visit our grandparents, and we'd go for the best tramezzini in town. Sadly the quality decreased steadily, and now I can't find them any more.
I'll also never ever forget street food in Palermo: little durum wheat rolls with sesame seeds on top, cut in half and filled with panelle (fried chickpeas batter) or battered whole artichokes or broccoli florets, fried in that very moment. They also make them with spleen, but I can't bring myself to eat that!
And now I live in Germany, and brotchen are the best food around! I'm putting on weight: nothing worse than sandwiches for appetite control, unfortunately...

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

HAHA! I thought I was the only one who liked potato salad sandwiches! Been eating them for years and have gotten many odd looks for it, but they're delicious! Now I can say I'm having a japanese-style sandwich.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Well... As a french person, I never really been into white bread square (or triangle) sandwiches. But give me half a fresh baguette, gruyère, white ham and butter or mayonnaise, and I'm in heaven. That said, my mom made very good croque-monsieur (I'm not sure there is a word in english... grilled sandwiches?) with ham and a wide variety of cheese (camembert and raclette cheese were the best!). And for dessert, we had banana and dark chocolate croque-monsieur, that we had to open to cool down before eating.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

My favorite sandwich is probably avocado, lettuce and tomato -- it's simple and highlights the best of late summer produce in Southern California. Of course, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat isn't far off either!

But, growing up, my cousins and I made lots of fun sandwiches on white, Wonder bread (to this day, my Filipino grandmother only purchases white bread; maybe it's because it was what was popular when she immigrated to the States, or perhaps it's the Japanese influence on her cooking). When we were kids, the toaster oven was the only appliance we could use without my grandma around, so we made lots of toasted sandwiches. Even though I'm a vegetarian now, I fondly remember toasted ham and cheese sandwiches, with a Thousand Island-like sandwich spread.

Of course, we also made the aforementioned (and untoasted) sugar and peanut butter sandwiches, too! It seemed like such an indulgence to put sugar on our sandwiches then. But, I'm also familiar with the "big American sandwich," too.

Growing up, my dad used to take my sister and I to a great Jewish deli nearby and we'd get sandwiches piled high with pastrami on rye, or roast beef. We'd split a sandwich and still have some leftover to take home. Since I now live just down the street from that deli, I love getting grilled cheddar on their in-house baked rye. It's simple and delicious!

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Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Maki, you are the best! You are also one of the best food writers currently working. I am demented with eagerness to buy your book when it hits the States.

My favorite sandwich memory is of the ones we made when I was a kid with a "pudgy pie" maker. It was the at-home aluminum version, but I recently purchased the cast iron suitable-for-campfires-version by mistake. I look pretty funny while wrestling it in the kitchen over the gas stove burner. You butter two slices of bread, put them butter side out in each half of the iron, then my favorite filling is a dab of peanut butter with half as much jelly. You fasten the two halves of the iron together, thus making a sealed, round "pie" out of the center of the bread, then toast it to perfection over the burner. Yum! This makes a really nice little grilled cheese "pie" too.

Is it pie, is it a sandwich? We always thought it was the best of sandwichs.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

We called these jaffles in New Zealand where I grew up. Usually my mum would usually make them with spaghetti, baked beans or cheese in. Sometimes a slice of roast meat as well as cheese for a special treat.

The spaghetti ones were my favourite and I can remember trying to eat them so that the filling would stay inside as much as possible. Mmmm!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

The sandwich memory that stands out in my mind are tuna salad sandwiches in Japan. I was a college student on my first trip there. My host mom served the whole fish-head, tail and all, miso soup, rice etc. for my breakfast everyday but when she learned that I had tried, and very much liked, the tuna sandwiches she switched that to my daily breakfast. Now, as I mom, I can appreciate how happy she must have been that I was so satisfied with such a simple meal. At the time I WAS so satisfied. I enjoyed every bite of those delicious morning sandwiches. They were unlike any tuna sandwiches I had had before, the bread, the tuna itself, the mayo, each component a glorious celebration of itself. YUM!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I've always wondered about the invention of the sandwich.
Bread was the traditional "plate" that Britons would eat their meals from for many hundreds of years. Pies have also been popular for centuries, so the notion of eating from bread and having it enclose the food certainly isn't new.
But the bread plates would have been made of whole flour and very dense and I can only assume that it was rather low class as the nobles had silverwear and such as well as servants to clean their plates.
I suspect the growth in popularity of sandwiches had something to do with the lighter whiter breads that only the richer people could afford initially... this bread became more accessible during the Industrial Revolution, a time that coincides with the 4th Earl's "discovery".
White bread had a lot of cachet in this era (white bread, tea and sugar - which all gained in popularity at around this same time - were still barely affordable luxury items in the 1930s
http://www.george-orwell.org/The_Road_to_Wigan_Pier/5.html - paragraph 7 beginning "Now compare this list with the unemployed miner's budget..." is a really interesting take on how we got to eat so unhealthily today) so Lord Montagu may have been the Sandwich's celebrity endorsement, just what was needed to up the status of a guilty pleasure... such as eating on bread might have been for those who could afford not to. The ultimate in waste and frivolity must be the crustless cucumber sandwiches made possible by the emerging technology.
Perhaps the nobility taking a liking to Sarashina noodles helped in the popularisation of soba in Japan. Seems like a similar process to me, especially now that everybody can afford to eat them.
Anyway, it is nice (and reassuring) to see other people show a similar curiosity to mine!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I think it was Mark Steyn who recounted the story of the nostalgic American living in London who, every time he saw a sign in a shop window advertising 'sandwiches for sale,' had the supposed starvation-induced impulse to go inside and kill the proprietor ^_^.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

The first time I studied in Japan, my host mother would make delicious sandwiches out of leftovers. They weren't traditional sandwich fillings that I was used to, but they tasted so good wrapped in the snow white, crustless bread. One day we had yakitori sandwiches; the next, spaghetti sandwiches. The other exchange students experienced the same. My American friends and I would joke that our host mothers kept a bin labeled "random food" in the fridge that they would reach into while making our sandwiches.

I'm lavto-ovo vegetarian now. Last time I went to Japan, I ate egg salad sandos from convenience stores at least once a week. I still think fondly of the leftover surprise sandwiches from high school.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Hi maki. I grew up in the UK in the late 70s and 80s and my memories from then are that EVERY meal eaten outside of the home was a sandwich! Picnics or long car journeys always involved a box of sandwiches. Lunches at other people's houses or birthday parties would be based on sandwiches. In primary school we all took sandwiches everyday, with out fail, and they were always of the thin ungenerous kind you describe. Horrible fish paste, watery ham, thin sliced cheese on limp white bread with a bit of 'relish' and butter to glue them together. In fact an English school child of my generation would have been very surprised to find someone who had a packed lunch that wasn't a sandwich! I'd go as far as to say that sandwich and lunch (at school/work) are inter-changable words in the UK.

Through-out high school teenagers then, as now, seemed to live off a lunch diet largely made up of the ultimate British sandwich - the chip butty!!(i.e. thick sliced potatoes deep fried and then served in a big bread roll). I've never seen them elsewhere in the world - and my adult consumption is limited to 1 or 2 a year (alcohol is usually involved ;)). Where I come from in the North a chip butty is always served on buttered bread with salt, malt vinegar and ketchup. Although American "French Fries" have taken over in our fast food restaurants (where haven't they?) they simply won't do when it comes to the national (maybe Northen) dish of chip butties. The chips have to be very chuncky and very, very crispy. My favourite bread is a big, soft and chewy roll like an oven bottom or barm cake (which are maybe regional UK breads). We also have dab butties (sliced potatoes deep fried in fish batter served in buttered bread) but they don't compare to the original... They must both weigh in at a day's worth of calories.

One of the things I love most about your sites is their focus on healthy food - so I'm slightly embarassed to write about chip butties but they are absolutely THE English street dish in my part of England! The dainty cucumber sandwich is, perhaps, as culturally significant but it represents a very different cliche about the British and a very different way of eating.

Anyway, despite the bad memories from primary school I still eat sandwiches and here are my favourites (and because I'm English there's quite a few!)

Crumbly Cheddar cheese with ploughmans pickle or Lancashire cheese with piccalilli and onion/tomato (equally good toasted)
Cream cheese and pickled cucumbers with dill in sourdough bread
Grilled peppers, tomatoes and onions with haloumi or feta or grilled and marinated tofu and salad in dense malty bread
Egg mayo and celery (sometimes cooked) preferrebly in rye bread and sometimes with cumin/turmeric/etc
Egg mayo made with greek yogurt instead of mayo with added corn, cucumber dice and herbs
Tofu marinated in soy/ginger/garlic/mirin with grilled asparagrus/courgette/fennel and herbs
Plain grilled tofu or haloumi with grilled asparagus and green olive tapenade then toasted in ciabatta bread
Scrambled eggs with cheese and spring (salad) onions - scramble the eggs until quite dry and put into soft brown rolls
Falafel with roasted or raw vegetables, pickled garlic and tahini dressing
Any mix of roasted vegetables with either salsa or salsa verde or a garlicky bean paste like humous tosted to combine
A fryed egg with cooked spinach, nutmeg, cooked cabbage and mayo but this need to be eaten straight away
Veggie sausages, grilled peppers, salad leaves and some salty soft cheese (like chevre)

And like most people I love peanut butter and jam sandwiches. But have you tried unsweetened peanut butter with pickled onions and a sprinkle of chilli flakes? I don't know why but it's a great combination - I think - but a friend or two doesn't agree. Try it with a robust strong tasting bread. Maybe it's a pregnancy craving thing... The older I get the more I want my bread to actually taste of something. As a teenager I happily ate the fluffy white tasteless processed gooey bread that is standard here in the UK. But now I really want bread to be a flavour that complements the filling rather than a neutral "plate" (as a commenter has put it) for my food! Sourdough, rye, seeded wholemeal and oat bread are all preferrable to me than ordinary white these days.

And returning to the classic English cucumber sandwich - do try Marmite with cream cheese, very thin slices of Cheddar (or other hard strong flavoured cheese) and very thinly sliced cucumber. More robust and tasty than the dainty English classic. Also Marmite and tomato, maybe with added cumin/cilli, in rye bread is very good - as well as being lower calorie than most fillings

And finally... Although I love sandwiches (butties in my part of the UK) I have to say that giving up shop or work place ready made sandwiches as my automatic choice of lunch and mid-afternoon snack is one of the things that has really helped me to lose weight over the past year or two (Maki your Bentos are one of the other things that has really helped me, so thank youXXX 55lb in the last 12 months). I still eat home made sandwiches a few times a week but the fillings and choice of bread are more careful than they were in the past and most importantly of all I make them myself - so I know they are nutricious and have a reasonable amount of calories. Many shop bought sandwiches in UK outlets are as bad for you as.. well... a chip butty!!!

Sandwiches per se aren't bad for you but, in the UK at least, many comercial sandwich makers are really very very bad for your health. So get creative...

P.S. I'm really looking forward to having your book on my kitchen table! This interweb lark's alright, and I do really really value both of your sites, but there is something to be said for having an offline, or in old fasioned talk, a book, in your hand! I can't wait..

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

The chip butty is alive and well in New Zealand, although not often called by that name. It is generally eaten when you've bought fish and chips and taken them home in their newspaper to eat; out comes the loaf of white bread and the butter, lots of butter on the bread, chips piled on, T-sauce or vinegar applied, and bread folded over before being stuffed into the mouth. Delicious.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Chip butties.....drool! As a fellow english person, i agree with the above totally!! It sounds wrong but shouldn't be discounted until tried....hot chips melting the butter and ketchup leaving you with a gooey mess but such a national institution! On a Sunday, when the roast was cooking, we also had a dripping sandwich shared between us three children i.e, a piece of white plastic bread dipped into the hot gooey deposits at the bottom of the roasting tin and then eaten while it's still hot enough to burn your mouth! School dinners were stopped in the 80's and like the previous reply- my experiences of lunch at school consisted of a sandwich with either marmite and cheese or sandwich spread (yucky salad cream type spread with luminous vegetable pieces!)
By the way, my understanding of the origin of the sandwich is that the Earl was at this gambling tables using one hand to hold his cards and thus he needed to be able to eat his meal with the other only hence the sandwich. However, like all olde english stories- there's probably only a grain of truth in it!!

Lord Sandwich

I had always believed the story about Lord Sandwich being a diehard gambler and only having one hand spare to eat too, but when I read the Wikipedia article I linked to, practically the whole page was trying to disbunk the idea that he was a no-good gambler. He actually had a pretty distinguished career. So now I'm not sure.

For people in the UK, the title of this post is actually an obscure allusion to a British cooking icon, Fanny Cradock. In one of her cookbooks (one my mother got from a neighbor when we used to live in England - I talked about it here some time ago), she had a chapter called Thank You, Lord Sandwich, which had some sandwich recipes. I only remember one of the recipes (and the book is in storage) but it was called Curate's Eyes. Basically it was two slices of bread, with round holes cut out in the middle. The bread was put in a frying pan with butter, eggs dropped into the holes, and the whole thing gently fried. It's still one of my favorite late night snacks.

If I had the time, I would so start a site dedicated to Fanny. Despite her manner and unfortunate maquillage in her later years, she was a pretty awesome cook.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Hello Maki,
This was a wonderful post because it makes everyone think of their childhood food. I don't remember the Fanny and Johny programme (I've seen clips on parody shows!)but my mum does and used to make her trifle every christmas- i still love it (especially with hundreds and thousands sprinkled on the top!).
p.s- i love both your sites. I work shifts as a nurse and used to not bother taking dinner breaks because i was always disturbed during them but then i started to get really tired and stressed. I was inspired by your site (and an obsessive love of sushi which i make very badly!) and started filling a bento to take to work. I now insist on taking my lunch because i know i have such a nice lunch/ dinner to look forward to and don't want it to go to waste- it's also helping me to lose weight. Thank you

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

My favorite sandwich is built up from ingredients from the Italian deli in my home town, which my Gramma sent with me to school every day growing up. It's very simple. First, you need a fresh torpedo shaped bun from the Italian Bakery (the one in the middle of china town with the best buns). Then, you need a lot of meat and cheese! A normal combination is prosciutto, cooked capicolli (both hot and mild), mortadella, and two kinds of genova salami (hot and mild). Then you layer on some provalone, a few slices of havarti or gouda, and some shavings of piave vecchio or parmesan (or any hard, salty cheese). And then you slather the top piece of bread with vegetable spread (made of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and spicyness). Delicious!!!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I've never been fond of sandwiches, but caffettiera's post reminded me that the two most amazing sandwiches I have ever had (their memory still make my eyes roll back into my head) were both in Italy. On my first trip to Venice I was wandering through the streets towards the train station. I wanted to pick up a some things for DH and I to eat on the train, so stopped at a tiny bakery. I have no idea where I was. I couldn't read or speak Italian, but I could make out "prosciutto" and "olives", and I could point. A couple of hours later as we were chugging along the countryside, I bit into the roll and couldn't believe the flavors and texture! I have no memory of what other items I picked up for our lunch, but I that day I tasted perfection!

On a subsequent trip to Florence, a friend directed me to Cantinetta Antinori which was a little cafe near our hotel. Every afternoon I would see beautiful Florentine women sitting there nibbling on perfect little truffle butter sandwiches and sipping spumante. After my first sandwich, I understood love (obsession?). Was it the truffle butter? Was it the perfect sweet roll? Or perhaps the spumante? Whatever the reason, I arranged to be there every afternoon for at least one sandwich. (After all, they were tiny and came three to a plate.) (sigh) Italy.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I should mention another favorite very unhealthy sandwich - the fish finger buttie! Crisp fish fingers on buttered white bread, with mayonnaise and ketchup or, I swear, Bulldog tonkatsu sauce. Sometimes some lettuce is allowed.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

As a kid, I thought my mom was nuts for eating peanut butter and DILL PICKLE sandwiches . . . until I tried them. It's a surprisingly good combination. I like just putting PB on a slice of bread and wrapping it around a whole dill pickle. The crunchiness of the pickle cuts the stickiness of the PB, and they're both somewhat salty. Back then I also liked the smooth gooey texture of the grilled cheese sandwiches at a truck-stop restaurant in our little town, because they used the processed cheese slices that Mom rarely bought. Hmmm, and I remember my grandma using a fork to break up the contents of a can of salmon and mixing in vinegar before making sandwiches with it. She also grew cress in her garden and that was somehow involved in sandwiches but I don't remember what it went with, just the peppery taste.

You know, I just baked bread this afternoon, and now I'm going to have to go make a sandwich . . .

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I think my favorite sandwich as a child was a tie between the grilled cheese sandwhich, made with cheddar cheese on bread buttered both sides and put in a pan to grill and melt.. and an open-faced tuna sandwich where we piled a modified tuna salad combination on what we can an English muffin over here in the US. The tuna salad included American yellow mustard, or a dab of colman's powdered mustard with the mayo, diced pickles, celery and green onions, heads and green part (we were poor) we would broil them in the oven with a slice of sharp cheddar or american cheese over the whole thing and eat them after they had cooled down a little but where still fairly toasty.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Ah! maki! You know about fish finger butties! As well as chip butties! (I thought they were a national sectret!!!) Not to mention bacon butties - which America turned into the far more sophisticated BLT. Or sausage butties!!! We can do sophisticated food here but, frankly, our traditional fast-food sandwiches are no better than MacDonalds yet we eat them too often

A sandwich in Venice

Folly's story about amazing sandwiches in Venice reminded me of a Venice sandwich story of my own. Years ago, I was on a solo backpacking trip in Italy. I was staying at the youth hostel in Padova (Padua). The hostel housed 6 to 8 people per room, and one of my roomies was a rather nervous, sad girl, also from NY (she was going to Columbia if I recall). She had rather had enough of travelling, and wanted to go home, but couldn't afford to or something until her boyfriend could come and get her...or something like that. Anyway, she was very nervous (she'd had a bad experience apparently at another hostel in Italy, where she was the only person staying and some drunk guys tried to get in (but failed, fortunately)) and living on like one meal a day.

Anyway, she did have a rail pass, so she could go to Venice with me for the day. (Padua is about a 30 minute train ride from Venice). When we were there I treated her to the crustless sandwiches (tramezzino) that they serve all over the city as sort of bar snacks. I still remember her sitting down and nibbling on the sandwiches, and thanking me for reminding her that she had to loosen up a little and not try to just do the look at museums and important architecture type of travel.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I think my most prominate sandwich memory (as now I come to think about it, I have a couple ^^;;) is the lamb and pickle sandwiches that used to be served at my school, was REALLY nice, but no one else really wanted to eat them. All the more for me I guess!

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I'm crazy about sandwiches. I guess I can eat anything as long as someone puts it between 2 slices of bread ! My very best memory is of grilled cheese sandwiches, made in a cast aluminium grilled cheese press that my Brazilian grandmother would put on the flame of the gas stove, grill one side, turn it and grill the other side. We didn't have the electric grilled cheese press then...
The sandwich came out golden and fragrant. The bread was buttered on the outside for extra flavor, goldenness and calories :-). When sliced diagonally, the delicious yellow Edam-like cheese would be melted, making those long strings when you pulled on one half. This brings back so many nice childhood memories... I make these quite often, but now that I'm a grown-up, I avoid the butter and use an electric press :-)

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

I love toasted sandwhiches with hot carmelized onions and sauted mushrooms right off the grill. I whip them up with bread from the farmer's market here in the appartment and my BF just loves them.

I also learned a fun variation on a classic American Rueben. (I am an American, fyi.)

All this is served hot and toasted on rye, wheat or pumperknickle bread:
Harvati, Swiss, or Sharp Provolone cheese
sliced Turkey
Sauerkraut
Hotwing BBQ sauce (WAY better than 1,000 island dressing!)

In the South, we also have an awesome little sandwhich that's near and dear to hearts like the egg salad is to you. It's called a pimento and cheese sandwhich, and it too, is yummi toasted.

Re: Thank you (I think), Lord Sandwich

Holy smokes, the double-carb Japanese sandwich! One of my best food memories is a yakisoba and chicken katsu sandwich that turned out to be a yakisoba and croquette sandwich. That's right, TRIPLE carbs--and one of them deep-fried, to boot.

Sandwiches are one of my favorite food genres. In Honolulu, there's a place called Mix Cafe, and their tuna sandwich is the best tuna sandwich in the history of mankind. Olive oil mix instead of mayonnaise, with capers and olives (two ingredients I usually hate), a light layer of french beans, a sliced hard-boiled egg, tomato, and (I think) Swiss cheese. On a home made bun. Toasted. Yummm.

Love this blog. It makes me feel like anything is possible if you have cute food containers.

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