The OED defines it as “An item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with a filling between them”.
The origin of such food, a favourite of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, is controversial. Easy to suppose that from ancient times people would eat some meat, cheese, etc., placed between two pieces of bread, and as time went on that type of food became ever more popular.
No longer limited to cold meats filling, the portability and ease of the sandwich caught on with families for school/work lunches, picnics…a bread enclosed convenience food now popular all over the world.
Sandwich fillings can be chicken, egg, ham&cheese…. the choice is unlimited: from Roast Beef to Nutella, but we usually have one type of sandwich that we prefer above all else.
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My mother, a 22yr old bride in the early 50’s, determined that her husband would never have the same meal twice in a month. That extended to lunch sandwiches and I used to go to school with such exotics as mock turkey, grated apple, walnut & vegemite, nasturtium leaves & flowers, lamb tongue with mint, etc. How can I pick a favourite?
The type of sandwich also varied. There were “rainbow” sandwiches which were layers of brown, white breads with different fillings eg egg, beetroot, cucumber; and cut into fingers. She also cut them into crescents, triangles, small squares and arranged them in a chequer board design.
I still look up The Schauer Australian Cookery Book for ideas for sandwiches (and other dishes). Miss Schauer is a WWI vintage, and a pioneer of Invalid Cookery for soldiers returning from the Front. She understood nutrition, and serving food as varied, attractive and palatable as possible. She was a Teacher of Cookery and Examiner in Brisbane for 40 years.
My wife and I are subscribers to the Australian Chamber Orchestra. They have an optional 45min talk before each concert. We make sure we are there when the doors open so that we can grab a couple of sandwiches and two glasses of house bubbly at the bar and hurry into the auditorium to listen to the talk. We so enjoy the freshly made sangers and bubbly while listening to the talk. It’s the highlight of the concert for us. The sandwiches vary. They are always fresh and we have never had one we didn’t like. Sometimes they come as an assorted pack cut into fingers. If we have a favourite, it would be the cajun chicken. It may sound incongruous to drink “champagne” with sangers but it really works. Try it!
We went one better a couple of weeks ago at the Opera House. At the bar, they were selling pies and sausage rolls of all things. So, this time we had a sausage roll and bubbly. Mind you, they were fancy sausage rolls, pork and fennel, I think.
My favourite sandwich is usually the one someone else has made - full of salad, with maybe egg or ham (or both). I get bored grating the carrot, slicing the cucumber, washing the lettuce etc etc and again etc.
Once upon a time, when the world was very young, my favouritest sandwich was really fresh soft white bread, crusts removed with thick salted butter and lots of sweetened condensed milk. You had to eat it fast so the SCM didn’t dribble out too much.
It’s been a while, if I ever want to reminisce I will have the ambulance standing by.
I worked in a family food shop. It was not a fast food as we had a deli attached to the prepared food area. Thirty seven different cheeses and nine salamis. We smoked our own hams and made our own bread. Making a sandwich is a balance of flavours, or a dominant flavour with a balanced supporting flavour package. There is a difference between a salad sandwich with ham to a ham and salad sandwich. The former is a blend of all flavours with thin slices of ham while the later has a much thicker slice of leg ham. There are a few rules too, never put tomato on the bread, it must go in the middle otherwise it will make the bread soggy. Ham goes down first and cheese goes down last AFTER the salad dressing. The dressing should be virgin olive oil and the vinegar should be Sherry vinegar. Tomato must be sliced thin and the lettuce should be cos sliced very fine, never iceberg.
But for me my goto sandwich is a thick fillet steak cooked just past blu and sliced very thin on a high top or white sponge bread with a very generous spread of Danish or Irish butter, ground pepper and ground salt. With a German Dunkel beer in a glass.
And then there is Vegemite with Lurpak butter on warm white bread with crust removed.
Friend of mine showed me her packed sandwich system for her husband’s packed lunches. She had two square containers. She butters slices of bread which go in one box and then assembles the filling in the other.
Lunch time, he opens the bread box and removes the slices (she has a cling wrap between them - used to be a butter wrapper in the 1960’s). He puts one slice down, up ends the filling box, drops the other slice on top and cuts / eats. This stops moist ingredients from soaking into the bread.
Two slices of multigrain bread. Lightly butter one side of each and place buttered sides together. On the top of unbuttered side, smear a desert spoonful of leftover bolognese or Taco mince, then a slice of aged vintage cheddar, then slices of tomato, then some fresh basil. Lift and place buttered side into an electric sandwich maker. Put second slice of bread on top, butter side up, and close - cook until you can smell the delicious combination or until crispy. Remove and enjoy!
Noted we toast sandwiches in the ‘sandwich maker’. It does not seem all that different, other than the jaffle had a patent.
Some more about the jaffle. I like mine with baked beans, cheddar cheese and ham. Alt that favourite of camp pie out of the tin when not at home. We have both round and square versions, and one in alloy.
We still have a jaffle iron. Went out of use when we had an electric stove, but now on gas burner we can use it again. I find it best to heat the filling first, otherwise the bread burns before the contents heats because the gas temperature is high. Good for lunch and using up left-overs.