The wonderful, glorious, spectacular sandwich
The sandwich is the world's perfect food. Why? Well, for starters... try and find a person who doesn't like sandwiches. Such a person does not exist. This person is as mythological as the Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, and Paris Hilton's brain. No such person exists, past, present or future.
I recently conducted a survey of one my compañeras en mi clase de español. I asked her "Does anyone NOT like sandwiches?" She pondered for a moment and replied ,"Maybe Nazi's?" It was my turn to ponder and I shook my head, "No. Sadly, even those diabolical heathens probably enjoyed a good Rueben now and again." She nodded in agreement, and the question was definitively answered.
But why? Why does the love of sandwiches (or, as they're referred to in my household, "sammiches" or "sammies") extend beyond borders, beyond ideologies beyond race? What mystical powers does the sandwich hold, are these powers intrinsic and, most importantly, does the sandwich have the power to unite humanity?
Grab a sammich, and come back. We'll find out...
Learn to order a sandwich anywhere in the universe
Attempts to find how to order a sandwich in Klingon failed. Never has not being a nerd made me feel so utterly useless. Also, if you fly to space, pack your own lunch
Sandwiches come in many forms. Some are heroes, some are burgers, some are sandwiched by bread others by buns or rolls. For the purposes of this excursion, we are not going to include wraps as sammiches. Sammiches will be limited to items surrounded by two pieces of bread.
What can go in a sandwich? This question is not appropriate. The appropriate and easy question is, what cannot go in a sandwich. For this, there is only one answer: nothing.
Ham, eggs, tuna, salmon, chicken, roast beef, beans, sprouts, pastrami, pineapple, cheese... these are just the tips of the sandwich iceberg. Let's look at some famous sandwiches.
The Monte Cristo
The Monte Cristo is an extremely healthy sandwich.
Well, maybe not, but it's damn tasty.
A Monte Cristo is a fried ham and cheese sandwich and is most popular in the US, but has been sited in Europe and Canada. Emmental or Gruyère cheese is typically used, but any mild flavored white cheese works well with this heavenly cuisine. In most places, the sandwich is savory, though in some regions of the US, it is sweet. Traditionally, the sandwich is assembled and then dipped in egg batter and fried. This what contributes to its healthfulness.
Sometimes sliced turkey, instead of or addition to ham, is used. In some areas of the United States it is served grilled, in others, as an open faced sandwich with only the bread battered. The assembled sandwich is heated slightly under a broiler, or on a grill. Sometimes French or Texas Toast is used as a base.
It is great with a little sour cream and a nice side of fruit.
Here's a link to a Monte Cristo Recipe.
The Reuben is a hot and savory sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, Russian or Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut. These ingredients are grilled between slices of rye bread. It is not uncommon to use Pastrami instead of Corned Beef.
The origins of the sandwich are oddly mysterious, with numerous parties wanting, understandably, to claim the creation of this delicious treat. The two most famous accounts involve Reuben Kulakofsky and Arnold Reuben.
One version of it's origins claims that Reuben Kulakofsky a Lithuanian-born grocer from Omaha, Nebraska, invented the sandwich perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's weekly poker game which was held in the Blackstone Hotel between 1920 and 1935. The sandwich first gained local fame when Charles Schimmel, the owner of the Blackstone, put it on the hotels' lunch menu. It A hotel employee later won a national recipe contest with the sandwich.
Arnold Reuben, the German owner of the famous, yet now defunct, Reuben's Delicatessen in New York, is purported by some to be the rightful owner. According to an interview with Craig Claiborne, Arnold Reuben created the "Reuben special" around 1914. A recipe for the sandwich first appeared in print in 1926 and resembles Arnold Reuben's recipe.
Regardless of the sandwiches origins, it is indisputably delicious, and has many variations. The Rachel, for example, substitutes corned beef with pastrami and coleslaw with sauerkraut. I generally make it at home on dark rye with pastrami, sauerkraut and provolone.
No matter how you slice it, the Reuben is delicious and hearty and goes well with potato salad and corn on the cob.
The Club Sandwich
A staple of happy hours, late night delis and karaoke bars, the club sandwich is a hearty and delectable toasted sandwich. Its deceptively simple and very understated, but is a reliable dish almost anywhere you go. It's hard to mess this bugger up.
The most common ingredients for a club sandwich are turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Sometimes the bottom layer will have chicken or roast beef and many times miracle whip, mustard and honey mustard are used as additional or substitute condiments. It is almost always served on toasted bread. The Club is best served with a side portion of either coleslaw, or potato salad, and , of course, the obligatory pickle. Bars usually serve the club sandwich with fries, potato chips or tater tots. A side of hot wings compliments the cool condiments of this sandwich and it is often cut into quarters and held together by toothpicks. It has two layers separated by an additional slice of bread.
The sandwich first appeared on restaurant menus in 1899.
Subway and Blimpie serve the club sandwich on Hoagie bread and McDonald's Big Mac is served with an additional slice of bread, in homage to this terrific little treat. The Club sandwich is reliable and filling. It is a treat for all and highly recommended.
The Egg Salad Sandwich
The egg salad sandwich is the perfect sandwich for those who want to eat something tasty and protein filled, but don't want to feel overly full, as you might with a meat sandwich. This sandwich is diverse and each person can add their own little twist to it.
For mine I hard boil some cage free eggs, and chill them for about an hour. Then, shell the eggs and smash them up in a bowl. Then I add equal parts miracle whip and mayo and squeeze a nice dollop of mustard. I then chop up some white onion and toss this in the bowl with some ground black pepper and paprika Finally, I add a little pickle juice before covering the bowl with saran wrap and chilling the contents.
When it comes time to construct the sandwich, I put a little miracle and mayo to the bread, scoop the egg mixture on a piece of bread and add some lettuce. If I'm feeling frisky, I might toast the bread first. You can also add some boiled potato to the mixture for a hardier sandwich, or chop up pickle instead of just using the juice. I've also used a little chopped jalapeno before. Any kind of bread works too. Rye adds a special punch. If you use sourdough or wheat, these breads can be somewhat dry. be sure to add extra mayo to these. Add some chives, thyme, dill, or any other mild spices to change things up. The possibilities are endless with joyous little creation.
Your taste buds will thank you.
The hamburger needs no introduction. In it's simplest sense, the hamburger is a cooked ground beef patty sandwiched between two pieces of bread. In the years since it's inception, it has grown to include steak, ground turkey, chicken, and even veggie patties. Burgers can be topped with nearly anything as well. Egg, pineapple, lettuce, tomato, ham, cheese, onions, pickles, jalapenos, mayonnaise, Miracle Whip, mustard, honey mustard, fried onions, onion rings grilled onions, ketchup... you get the picture. It may be the most versatile sandwich in the world.
Like the club sandwich, the burger is a staple and a reliable option no matter where you go. As far as fast food chains, McDonalds makes a simple burger, but, for taste and quality, Sonic, Five Guys, In N Out and Burgerville take the prize.
The origins of the hamburger are mysterious, with many claimants to the invention of the burger. It is generally believed to have been developed in the 1890's and the White Castle burger chain traces it's origins to Hamburg, Germany; hence the name.
Charlie Nagreen has one of the earliest claims for hamburger invention. In 1885, he sold a meatball between two slices of bread at the Seymour Fair (now the Outagamie County Fair) in Wisconsin. The Seymour Community Historical Society of Seymour, Wisconsin, credits Nagreen, now known as "Hamburger Charlie", with the invention of the hamburger. At age fifteen he developed the concept to allow customers to eat while walking around the fairgrounds. The Historical Society explains that Nagreen named the hamburger after the Hamburg steak with which local German immigrants were familiar.
One of the earliest hamburger chains, White Castle, claims Otto Kuase is the true inventor of the hamburger. In 1891 he cooked a beef patty in butter and topped it with a fried egg. Tthe 1891 date lends doubt to Kuase being the rightful inventor.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, the family of Oscar Weber Bilby claim the first hamburger on a bun was served on Grandpa Oscar's farm using a yeast bun on the Fourth of July in 1891. In 1995, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating made the bold proclamation that Tulsa is "The Real Birthplace of the Hamburger."
An earlier claim, this one in1885, comes from Frank and Charles Menches who claimed to have sold a ground beef sandwich at the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York. Legend has it that during the fair, they ran out of pork sausage for their sandwiches and substituted beef, which they purchased from a local butcher named Andrew Klein. The story notes that the origin of the hamburger comes from Hamburg, New York not Germany. However, Frank Menches's obituary in The New York Times states that these events took place at the 1892 Summit County Fair in Akron, Ohio.
In Athens, Texas in the 1880's, Fletcher Davis, was photographed outside his shop, "Old Dave's Hamburger Stand" and claims that he invented the hamburger. Here, in this hamburger stand, he served fried ground beef patties with mustard and onion and a side of pickle. Historian Frank X. Tolbert, noted that Athen's resident Clint Murchison said his grandfather dated the hamburger to the 1880s with 'Old Dave' a.k.a. Fletcher Davis and the photo of "Old Dave's Hamburger Stand" from the 1904 connection was sent to Tolbert as evidence of the claim. Also the New York Tribune attributed the innovation of the hamburger to the stand, but did not offer a name.
Louis Lassen operated Louis' Lunch, a small lunch wagon in New Haven, Connecticut beginning in 1895, but it wasn't until 1900 when one day a customer requested a fast meal and Louis was out of steaks. To accommodate, Louis made and grilled a ground beef patty and grilled it, and then put it between two slices of toast. Not only is the 1900 date later then most historians credit the inception of the hamburger, some food critics, including Josh Ozersky, a food editor for New York magazine claims that this sandwich was not a hamburger because the bread was toasted.
The Library of Congress, however, credits Louis' Lunch for selling the first hamburger and steak sandwich in the U.S. in 1895.New York magazine says "The dish actually had no name until some rowdy sailors from Hamburg named the meat on a bun after themselves years later." the magazine notes that even this claim is subject to dispute.
There are myriad other claims regarding credit for inventing the hamburger and, quite frankly, who wouldn't want credit for creating such a delectable treat? The inventor is of little consequence because, the hamburger is here and is always excellent with cheese, fries and a side of pickle.
and finally... the French Dip
The French Dip sandwich is a meal in itself. In it's basest form, it's composed of thinly sliced roast beef served on a French roll or a baguette and then dipped in au jus, which is made from the roast beef drippings. Oddly enough, despite it's name, the sandwich is very American not generally familiar to the French.
While the sandwich is most commonly dipped as it is consumed into a cup of broth au jus or broth ,the sandwich was not invented this way.
Like the other sandwiches on this list, the proper credit to the inventor of the French Dip sandwich is hotly contested. Cole's Pacific Electric Buffet and Philliippe the Original, both restaurants based out of Los Angeles, California, lay claim to its creation. Philippe's website calls the sandwich a "specialty of the house" and the words "Home Of The Original French Dip Sandwich" are in the logo. Both of these restaurants dip the roll in the hot beef juices before the sandwich is assembled and is served "wet". Phillippe's tops their sandwich with a house made spicy mustard.
This controversy over who originated the sandwich remains unresolved and complicated. Both restaurants were established in 1908. However, Cole's claims to have developed the sandwich shortly after the restaurant's inception in 1908, while Philippe's claims that owner Philippe Mathieu invented it in 1918.
The story of the sandwich's invention by Philippe's has several variations. Some sources say that the sandwich was created by accident when a cook or a server who, while preparing a sandwich for a fireman or police officer, dropped it into a pan of meat drippings. The patron liked it, and the sandwich became popular very quickly. Another account states that a customer didn't want some meat drippings to be wasted and asked that his sandwich be dipped in them. Still another says that a chef dipped a sandwich into a pan of meat drippings after a customer complained that the bread was stale, which is similar to the account of the invention of another French named American dish, French Fries.
The account regarding Cole's says that a customer was complaining to the chef about sore gums and the sympathetic chef created the sandwich. Most likely, the mystery of the sandwich's creation will end up on a show hosted by the late Robert Stack due to the lack of reliable and observable evidence.
Either way, the French Dip is just another in a long line of tasty sandwiches. Try it with cheese and a side steak fries fries for a mouth watering meal.
So, eat up
If I wanted to, I could write a million page hub on sammiches and still not cover it all. I didn't even discuss tuna fish, peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, portabella mushroom, meat ball, roast beef, cheese steak, balogna. The list goes on. The point is, sandwiches are wonderful, delicious, universal and versatile.
So, go ahead and slap some___________ on that _____________ bread along with some ________ and some__________________ with a side of _______________ and a nice cold glass of ________________ and have a tasty meal.
Thanks for Reading.
PDXKaraokeGuy, also known as Justin W. Price, is an author with Sweatshoppe Publications, which will soon re-release his poetry collection, Digging to China. Additionally, the managing editor at eFiction horror and The New Bridge online newspaper.. Husband to Andrea, father to two dogs. writer.poet.baseball fan. tattooed. He is am amateur theologian with a rabid sweet tooth. He resides in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.He has a poetry book available for Amazon Kindle, and also maintains a blog, FirstBlog. His work has been featured in the Crisis Chronicles, efiction Magazine, The Hellroaring Review, the Bellwether Review, eFiction Humor, and the Rusty Nail. Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!
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