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Slice of life
No matter how you stack it, most of us love a sandwich for breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
It happens every day — my husband, who has the metabolism of a hummingbird and the same inability to be still, has to take medicine for a condition we call “creepy hungry.”
Creepy hungry is marked by symptoms that include uncharacteristically snappish responses, headaches and a loudly rumbling tummy. Fortunately, my partner has discovered the antidote, which he carries with him every day. We call it the four o’clock sandwich.
If turkey, American cheese and mustard between two pieces of wheat bread can have such a profound influence on one guy’s mood, it’s no wonder so many people define happiness as a pile of corned beef and sauerkraut on rye bread, sauce-cloaked meatballs on a crusty roll, or cheese oozing from between two buttery brown slices of bread.
For most of us, a sandwich is so much more than a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It is breakfast, lunch, dinner, a midnight snack and everything in between.
Still, I hadn’t fully considered the breadth of this culinary category until recently, when I gave my blog readers a chance to win a book called “The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches” by Susan Russo. To be eligible to win, readers had to leave a comment on the blog entry telling me their favorite sandwich.
Some, like Ann Woolwine, were pretty concise: “Pimiento cheese sandwich” is all she wrote. Others, like a reader named Vickie, found it much harder to choose just one.
“Hmm … this is a tough one,” she wrote. “Do I choose an Italian sub with hot pepper relish or a Reuben with spicy mustard instead of Thousand Island ? Maybe a grilled cheese with tomato and mayo or a BLT with mayo on toasted white bread or even ‘just a B — no LT on just bread,’ as my grandson says.
“Okay, if I can pick only one, I guess it would be the oyster po’ boys that I make for my family on Christmas Eve. NOW I’m thinking about turkey and cranberry sandwiches, roast beef and Swiss, French dip, etc. Man, I love sandwiches!”
Vickie was in good company, because nearly 70 people commented on that entry. The most frequently repeated votes were for grilled cheese — my personal favorite — and summer tomato on white bread, but some of the concoctions were like nothing I’ve ever considered (peanut butter and Doritos, anyone?).
Reading about them reminds a gal of why people love sandwiches so much — because the only limitation to the definition is that ingredients be conveyed to the mouth on some kind of bread. It could be a pile of leftover spaghetti on wheat bread, an entire garden salad shoved on a sub roll or six different leftovers from Thanksgiving squeezed inside one of grandma’s holiday rolls.
To inspire your inner sandwich wizard, I’ll share some readers’ ideas from my blog at blogs.roanoke.com/fridgemagnet.
Just don’t blame me if this makes you creepy hungry.
Readers’ favorite sammies
n A good Italian sub with capocollo, salami, ham and provolone or Gruyere cheese.
n Turkey and provolone sub with tomato, pickles, black olives and mayo, with dashes of Italian seasoning on a crusty Italian bread. Not heated, just cold, and best if it sits for about 15 minutes before you eat it to let the flavors meld.
n One that my mom used to make for me when I was little. It was mozzarella in between two pieces of good Italian bread, fried in olive oil. The mozz would get all melty and stretchy and I’ve always loved the fruity taste of good olive oil and the crunch of good Italian bread.
n Sliced roast turkey on whole wheat with Swiss, mayo, cranberry sauce and lettuce the day after Thanksgiving. Best sandwich of the year!
n Sometimes a hot cheese tuna melt is just what the doctor ordered.
n Boiled egg with a slice of cheese, ground pepper and Hellmann’s mayo slathered on both pieces of toasted bread
n Hot turkey and bacon with sundried tomatoes.
n A Kentucky Hot Brown, first made in the 1920s at the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville, Ky.
n My wife’s crab-stuffed roll with bread from Our Daily Bread in Blacksburg, with a close second my meatball sub cooked over an open fire in a Dutch oven.
n Big old juicy summer tomato sandwich on puffy white bread, mayo, salt and eaten over the sink.
n A homemade egg McMuffin with salami, Swiss cheese and fried egg with the yolk still runny.
n Hot turkey with Swiss, coleslaw and Thousand Island dressing. Love it!
n A thick-cut bologna sandwich, two slices fried to the point of almost burnt, between one slice of Swiss and one slice of Colby Jack, topped with mayo and two slices of salted tomato.
n Pretty much any kind of sub with heated meat and melted cheese — it doesn’t matter if it’s ham, turkey, roast beef, corned beef …
n A turkey, Granny Smith apple, and Brie cheese panini
n Grilled chicken, Havarti, and mustard on grilled rye.
n A BLT with crispy bacon and homegrown tomatoes.
n My mom makes a sandwich spread of green olives stuffed with pimientos mixed with cream cheese and a little mayo. She says she remembers her mom making them for the ladies who came to play bridge.
n Crunchy peanut butter with a few nacho Doritos smashed on top. I know it sounds extremely gross, but I promise you, once you try it, you’ll be hooked. You have to wash it down with a glass of milk.
n I would have to say a ham and cheese grilled over the fireplace. Add some onions, tomato or horseradish sauce.
n Smoked turkey, lettuce, and a slice of gala apple, with a spread made of brown mustard, toasted pecans, dried cranberries and cream cheese on a whole-grain bread.
n Sliced olives and chopped pecans mixed in some cream cheese (warm slightly in the microwave) spread on rye bread.
n Chicken cordon bleu.
n Peanut butter and jelly on pumpernickel bread, made with high-quality ingredients. Mini versions of these sandwiches were served as hors d’oeuvres at our wedding and were a huge hit.
n Grilled eggplant, roasted red pepper, seasonal greens, goat cheese, pesto-mayo, a little olive oil and salt and pepper on fresh crusty bread.
n A hamburger with chili, mustard, onions and slaw. Some folks call it a Carolina burger, I call it my hamburger/hot dog mix up.
n Thinly sliced rare roast beef with melted Swiss on good Italian bread with horseradish sauce and finely shredded oil-and-vinegar-based coleslaw.
n Italian with ham, Genoa salami, maybe another cold cut or two with white cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapenos, and an oily Italian dressing … served COLD!
n A hot fresh Cuban right off the grill.
n Leftover country ham from Christmas dinner with Miracle Whip. The sweeter flavor of Miracle Whip goes great with the salty country ham.
n Chicken salad on a croissant … toasted is even better.
n Tuna fish with hot pepper spread on toasted whole wheat.
n A good Philly cheese steak
n Fresh veggies and cheese with a vinaigrette dressing
n A peanut butter, banana and apple sandwich.
n Thinly spread whipped cream cheese with cucumber slices on wheat bread.
n A Reuben — with corned beef, not pastrami!
n A great bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Breakfast sandwiches are definitely the best, no matter the time of day.
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