18 December 2013

The Sandwich - pt. I

Whenever the topic of my peculiar eating habits comes up—typically with a new acquaintance—the conversation zeroes in on sandwiches almost immediately, as if sandwiches were the be all, end all of the human diet.  They’re not.  It is actually inconceivable to almost everyone that I do not eat sandwiches.  Truth be told, I have had two kinds of sandwiches in my entire life: grilled cheese and peanut butter with slices of banana. 

I want to address grilled cheese first because I’m actually quite fond of them, but I don’t think of them as sandwiches.  I’ve mostly stuck to what I have always referred to as cheese toast: a slice of cheddar cheese toasted on bread or a bun in the broiler.  Every once in a while I’ll have grilled cheese sandwiches, but almost exclusively when I can’t have cheese toast (like in a restaurant).  Grilled cheese sandwiches are good, but honestly I think there’s too high of a bread-to-cheese ratio there.  Also, if you enjoy eating something like cheese melted on toast, it only makes sense to me to divide it up into two separate servings to maximize pleasure.  Once you’re done a grilled cheese sandwich, you’re done.  But eating one piece of grilled cheese takes more or less the same amount of time to consume as one grilled cheese sandwich, and when you finish one piece, you have another to look forward to!  The other benefit of open-face cheese toast in a  broiler is that you can get the cheese to burn a bit, forming those brownish bubbles that are so delicious.
Here's a picture of me eating a grilled cheese sandwich that my sister made.
The peanut butter and banana sandwich will likely come as a shock to anyone who knows me, and so it should.  It was one of those situations where someone you don’t know well and feel obligated to be polite towards asks if you’re hungry, and before you realize that if you say yes they will probably suggest something that you absolutely don’t want to eat, you’ve already said yes.  This kind of situation has happened to me before, and I have successfully managed to back out without committing myself to eating something disgusting and then pretending to be thankful for it, but it can be a pretty difficult manoeuvre.  This is the kind of situation I found myself in when I ate that peanut butter and banana sandwich, and knowing that that’s the kind of sandwich it would be, I decided to cut my losses and just go for it.  After all, I like bread, I like peanut butter, and I like banana, so it really wasn’t as dire a situation as it could have been.  But it was really disgusting.  Banana and bread?  That’s so wrong.  In hindsight, I have no idea why I didn’t just ask for peanut butter and bread.

I have two major issues with sandwiches.  One is that I simply won't eat most of the normal sandwich ingredients: I don’t eat tomato, I don’t eat lettuce, I don’t eat cold cuts, and I certainly don’t eat any of the condiments usually associated with sandwiches, like mustard or mayonnaise.  The second issue is that I have a serious problem with the combination of different textures that I am adamant do not belong together.  A third and more minor issue is that sandwiches are often pre-made, so all of those textures that don’t belong together  in the first place are left to fester, and I can only imagine that a sandwich wrapped in Saran for several hours is probably a lot worse than a freshly made sandwich.

I want to take the same general approach with this post as I did with salads because, like salads, the term “sandwich” applies to an expansive and varied food grouping (although it bears mentioning that the word “sandwich” is much more valuable than “salad,” in that it typically refers to an easily identifiable way of preparing and combining food.  As far as I know, all sandwiches include two pieces of bread with varied ingredients in between, whereas “salad” has virtually no reference point whatsoever).  Having written most of the second part, the post is already over 3,000 words, so bear with me.

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