food humorfood humor Eat, Drink and Really Be Merry
The Sandwich: Why on Rye and Other Seedy Questions
by Marjorie Dorfman

Page 2

Tomatoes complement any combination of meat and bread. Do you prefer sliced, diced, minced, stewed, beefsteak, cherry or plum? Why not use all of the above? Then we can move on to the next category. To lettuce or not to lettuce; that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in spirit to use Romaine, Boston, Bibb, Nappa or plain old Mr. Iceberg is an age old dilemma. Iceberg hasn’t much flavor or nutritional value and is for decoration only as far as I am concerned. (So eat lunch with a few decorators. They will appreciate your choice.)

hero sandwich Mayonnaise deserves a paragraph or two as it can make or break a sandwich both calorically and taste-wise. Said to be the invention of the French chef of the Duke of Richelieu in 1756, the sauce made of cream and olive oil (for he could find no eggs), was named "Mahonaise" in honor of the Duke’s victory over the British at the Battle of Port Mahon. I have to plug Hellman’s here as I do feel it is the finest mayonnaise on the market. Its low fat version is indistinguishable from the higher fat varieties and its taste is the best in town. To all the other brands, well, let them eat cake!

Hellmann’s mayonnaise hasn’t changed much since 1905 when German immigrant, Richard Hellmann, opened a delicatessen in New York City, His wife’s recipe for mayonnaise was featured in salads sold in the store. It soon became so popular that he began selling two versions of the recipe and to differentiate between them, he put a blue ribbon label around one. In 1912 a Blue Ribbon label was created which was placed on larger glass jars. Hellmann went on to other spreads before moving on to that big mayonnaise plant in the sky, working his way through culinary nirvana with his Tartar Sauce and Sandwich spread in the 1920s.

Still, different strokes (in this case, spreads) for different folks is an axiom that will always apply when the sandwich is the object of discussion. Shall we do butter, mustard, ketchup, salsa or some combination of all of the aforementioned? Or shall we make our own unique spread, the contents of which are only limited by the shackles of our own creativity? The choice can only be yours and yours alone.

The use of "mustard paste" goes back as far as 42 AD and has always been made in relatively the same way. The seed must be crushed, its hull and bran sifted out or not, depending on the type of mustard being made. It may then go through further grinding and crushing. A liquid such as water, wine, vinegar, beer or a combination of several of these is added, along with seasonings and other flavorings. The end result is a full range of sensation upon the tongue. Ketchup comes to us from the Dutch and British seamen of the 1600s who brought the salty pickled fish sauce called "ketsiap" from China. The first ketchup recipe was printed in 1727 in Elizabeth Smith’s The Compleat Housewife. It was made out of anchovies, shallots, vinegar, white wine, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg, pepper and lemon peel. Both help sandwiches quite a bit, but it is creativity that stands alone as the sandwich’s best friend.
party sandwich
Whether your creations are mundane and trivial or different and unique each time, the sandwich is something that should be enjoyed and celebrated. Some people can’t down one without a pickle. Others opt for other sides; cole slaw, sprouts, potato salad, etc. Its versatility knows no bounds. The next time you bite into one, just close your eyes and think of the Earl. He’s probably looking down at us from that big gaming table/delicatessen in the sky (or up perhaps) and wondering if breads and cold cuts have really changed that much over the years. Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t. Perhaps you would like to make a bet on it?

Did you know . . .

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food humor"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."
Lin Yutang
The Importance of Living, 1937

"Talk of Joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread
. . . there may be."

David Grayson
Adventures in Contentment, 1907

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